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CreditDonkey featured Seidenberg Professor Darren Hayes in "Keeping Your Online Financial Transactions Safe"


CreditDonkey featured Seidenberg Professor Darren Hayes in "Keeping Your Online Financial Transactions Safe"

Dr. Darren Hayes
Associate Professor & Director, Pace University Digital Forensics Research Lab

What tips do you have for secure online financial transactions?

There is a popular misconception that online financial transactions are inherently risky. However, your risk of fraud may increase at an ATM or at a point-of-sale terminal because of skimmer fraud; a skimmer is a device that captures your payment card data from the magnetic strip on your payment card. Generally, financial institutions and most retailers spend a lot of money on protecting your online financial transactions. Nevertheless, there are some ways to mitigate the risk of financial fraud.

Two-factor authentication (2FA) or multi-factor authentication are effective ways to authenticate and prevent fraud, although their efficacy varies. Receiving a code via SMS can be good but there are criminals who will report a lost or stolen cellphone and subsequently obtain a replacement SIM card in order to authenticate an account on a mobile banking app and steal your money. Utilizing a 2FA app that generates a one-time code to authenticate the user is better.

Another other security tip is to only conduct financial transactions on websites that have "https", rather than "http", in the URL. Steer clear of conducting financial transactions on public WiFi, such as at your local Starbucks. Business centers with computers at hotels, airport lounges and so forth should not be used to conduct any financial transactions. If you must use someone else's computer, then ensure that you delete all cookies, your browser history and then restart the computer.

Finally, set up your bank account so that you receive alerts about outgoing payments and credit card charges. It is good practice to receive email alerts, notifications on your cellphone or smart watch, for all financial transactions. Credit monitoring services can be helpful, although it is free to place a credit freeze, with the three credit reporting agencies, while most states allow you to obtain one free credit report from each credit reporting agency at least once a year. The most important thing to be alerted to is any small, unrecognized debit and credit to your account. This is how fraudsters test your bank account before they make a big withdrawal. Contact your bank if you ever see any unrecognized charge and then credit - even if it is only for $0.70. The good news is that banks and credit card companies are generally very good with refunding you if you are a victim of fraud.

Read the full CreditDonkey article.