Here are six tips on how to best protect yourself and your money.
This year, for the first time, consumers in households with Internet access are paying more bills online than by check--39
percent electronic vs. 34 percent paper, according to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive and The Marketing Workshop.
If you’re already paying online or are thinking about it, here’s how to best protect yourself and your money:
- Try to pay bills online through the bank where you have a checking account, rather than through a third-party bill-paying
service or directly at the biller’s Web site. That reduces the number of entities that can lose your financial information
to hackers or thieves, or through carelessness. At most big banks, online bill-paying is free.
- Use a bank that guarantees to pay any hefty credit-card late fees if the bank fails to send your monthly payment to the card
issuer by the designated date. (Check the fine print to see when the transfer will actually be made.)
- Create a fraud-resistant password for online bill-paying and banking. Use at least eight characters, including numbers, upper-
and lower-case letters, and symbols. Avoid words and codes easily linked to you, such as your name or birth date.
- Review the monthly statements of your electronic account transactions. Under federal law, you have 60 days to report unauthorized
activity, but it’s best to report any problems immediately.
- Don’t leave your computer unattended while you’re conducting banking business. If you have to step away, sign off, close your
browser to clear cached copies of banking pages, and delete any temporary files.
- Don’t click on Web links embedded in any e-mail request for information about your online banking activity. Those links could
lead to fraudulent sites designed to collect personal and account data. Respond to such requests by contacting the bank directly.
subscribe: For complete Ratings and recommendations of appliances, cars & trucks, electronic gear, and much more, subscribe today and have access to all of ConsumerReports.org.
Consumer Reports has no relationship with any sponsor or advertiser of CTV.
Copyright © 2003-2007 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.