Scared of online banking? Here's how you can do it like a pro!

PHOTO: Gallo/Getty Images
PHOTO: Gallo/Getty Images

It’s becoming both easier and more popular to do your banking on your phone – but you have to make sure it’s safe. All major South African banks offer antivirus software you can download from your app store. For example, Nedbank uses Trusteer Rapport and Absa and FNB use Trend Micro. These programs safeguard computers, tablets and smartphones. The software is usually free for the first year but after that your bank might charge an admin fee.

Fraudsters contact your cell phone provider and tell them you need a new SIM card. Your cell phone is linked to the new number and the network blocks your old SIM. Now all SMSes sent to your cell number go to the new SIM – including those from your bank. If your SIM stops working, call your network operator to check if a SIM swop was done. If so, immediately inform your bank. A SIM swop is useless without your log-in details – the crooks need both to use your banking facility.

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Don’t download just any app – it might come with a virus that lets cyber criminals access your information. The SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) found that last year credit card holders lost R1,9 million because of fake apps. Always download apps from official sites, such as Google Play and iTunes App Store, says Kartik Mistry, head of smart devices at FNB. Don’t deactivate your phone’s default setting that blocks app.

Put a limit on all your electronic withdrawals and payments and keep it low. Should you need to make a large withdrawal, you can temporarily raise the limit. Subscribe to your bank’s notification system so you’ll know when there’s a transaction involving your account. And don’t forget the golden rules: memorise your PIN codes, don’t give them to anyone, and change them regularly. Ignore SMSes or other text messages telling you you’ve won a competition you never entered.

Questions asked about baking fraud

1.       Will I get my money back?

 If you can prove you didn’t divulge your PIN or were negligent with it, your bank might reimburse you for loss due to fraud. Banks will do this as long as it’s clear the client took steps to protect their information.

2.       What can I do if I find out I’ve been defrauded?

Call your bank and tell them to stop all transactions. Banks have specific numbers for reporting fraud. For Absa it’s 0860-557-557 and for Standard Bank it’s 0800-222-050.

          What’s “SMiShing”?

This is when you receive an SMS from your bank requesting additional information. You then get a call from someone trying to persuade you to divulge personal information.

4.       What’s a virtual PIN?

This is when a bank or shop creates a keyboard on your screen for you to enter your PIN, instead of you using your phone’s keyboard. This provides extra security when transacting.

5.       What’s Captcha?

 It’s an acronym for Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart. It’s that little block with lopsided numbers and/or letters that you have to read and enter as an extra security measure.