Banking transactions are normally secure, even when you use a mobile device – that is, unless you’re on public WIFI, as a close friend recently found out the hard way. Whilst in downtown Seattle and realizing they needed to transfer some money between bank accounts, they completed the transaction on their cell phone app using what they thought was their wireless data connection. Upon completing the transaction, they realized to their shock that they had been unknowingly connected to public WIFI. Four days later, their bank account was emptied via PayPal by an unscrupulous individual who absconded with their money.

Many businesses, such as AT&T, Quest, and Verizon, as well as Starbucks and other coffee shops and stadiums, offer free WIFI, but it’s absolutely not safe to perform banking transactions over your smartphone while connected to public WIFI — it’s not secure.

The moral of this true story is that if you perform any banking transactions on your smartphone, be absolutely sure you’re on a secure WIFI connection at your home, or better yet, don’t use your phone for banking unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Your mobile phone setting should be programmed so your phone automatically accesses its own secure wireless data connection. You should also check to ensure your WIFI setting on your phone is NOT set to automatically connect to public WIFI, but even that isn’t a guarantee that it won’t happen anyway. In addition, be sure to use a strong, secure passphrase (as opposed to a password) to access your online bank account, and change it periodically.

Banking fraud is a giant inconvenient pain in the derriere, and trying to right the wrong usually takes time, effort, and a lot of hassle and frustration, with no guarantee that your money will be recouped. Typically, a bank will allow an account holder a certain level of financial protection if the account holder takes specified steps. These steps vary, but they usually include reporting the fraud within a certain time period. If the bank’s specified steps aren’t followed, the account owner could be held liable for some or all of the financial damages. Check into and become familiar with your bank’s policy regarding fraud so you know the steps you need to take in order to be covered if an unfortunate bank fraud incident like this happens to you.

If you have any additional questions about how to safeguard your bank account, we’re here to help… send us an e-mail or give us a call!

PLEASE pass this on to family and friends.