Saturday, January 15, 2011

How Dangerous is Online Banking?

The World Wide Web does not limit its audience. As a matter of fact, it is easily accessible to everyone-from children to adults-and everyone seems to be taking advantage of this 'opportunity.' More and more people are now getting comfortable with technology, and as a result, a lot of people are transacting online and performing their everyday transactions over the internet.

Online banking is a recent innovation that was an offshoot of the accessibility of the internet. This new trend can boast of incredible rates and millions of subscribers. With more and more people taking advantage of the accessibility provided by the internet and the mobility afforded by high-tech gears and devices, online banking is the newest hype in the banking industry.

However, it is worthwhile to mention that despite the convenience, online banking always comes with some form risk and dangers. A lot of people who transacted online compromised their accounts and some even became victims of identity theft.

Scammers and identity thieves have made the internet a risky place to conduct transactions. One of the most famous strategies that they use is called phishing. In phishing, scammers put up bogus websites which are either replicas of legitimate sites or an independent site whose primary motive is to collect personal information like bank accounts, PINs, passwords and other personal identifying information.

They then proceed to sending email messages to their victims which often contains a link that will redirect them to the bogus site. Once the personal information are captured, they are stored and either sold or used for personal gain.

Another reason for insecure online banking transactions are unsecured computers. These units have been compromised either by viruses or because the computer is connected to an unsecured wireless network.

Most computer hackers who gain access to the victim's information either hack the data directly from the computer, or as it is sent from the victim's computer to the bank's computer.

Scammers and identity theft criminals can also use intimidation and other tricks to lure victims into providing their personal information. For instance, an internet user might receive an email from a certain hacker which informs him or her that the victim owes them some money from previous orders and non-compliance can result to legal actions.

Of course, the threats of online banking are highly sensationalized. Even the press makes the issue seem very hot, thus people are always looking at these innovations with a negative perspective.

It should be noted, however, that in real life, even ATM machines can be rigged by identity theft criminals or scammers to get the users' personal information and even 'banking people' who have access to the account details of their clients-like bank tellers-can illegally collect their customer's personal information. No single router is perfect.

Of course, despite the risks, people are not intimated or taken aback. People still continue to conduct online transactions although they are more careful with the entire process as they check out security certificates and other security measures afforded online and by the bank itself.

By: Tina L. Douglas
Tina L. Douglas is a well established author on the topic of identity theft.
For more advice and information on identity theft protection,