Online banking affords convenience and simplicity, enabling you to perform routine bank transactions using your computer. Although advantageous for a variety of reasons, online banking carries significant risks, especially to the small business owner. Practice safe online banking for your business to avoid catastrophic situations.
Possible Scenarios for Fraud
Whether an unsuspecting business owner follows a link in an email or stumbles upon a nefarious website unassisted, a trap lies undetected. When a visitor arrives to this website, a virus transfers to the computer and waits for the visitor to conduct banking business via the computer. The virus has keystroke-capture capabilities, enabling it to detect account credentials (usernames and passwords). Once captured, the virus provides this data to waiting thieves who transfer funds out of a business account, usually undetected until days later.
Federal law does not provide the same protections to commercial bank customers as it does to individual bank customers. If online bank fraud occurs to an individual account, banks are responsible for the loss. If online bank fraud occurs to a commercial account due to a compromise in the commercial customer’s system (not the bank’s system), the bank holds no responsibility.
Safe Online Banking Measures
Avoid all phishing emails you receive. Your bank will never send you an email asking for personal account information by email. When you receive emails like these, forward them to your bank immediately without clicking on any links inside. Use an up-to-date antivirus and firewall system on your computer to keep spyware and viruses from installing on your computer. Never use a commerce website without an encryption. Look for the small padlock on your Internet browser to ensure that you are using a safe website.
Explore prevention measures and find a bank that offers additional options for preventing theft. For example, some banks display a specific image on sign-in screens. If a customer does not see the correct image, they are instructed not to sign in and to contact the bank by telephone instead. Another measure involves using one-time passwords transmitted by text message. This second-level verification may be enough to stop a thief. Some banks offer special transaction passwords for specific transactions. Even if a thief has your bank account credentials, without the special transaction password necessary for transferring money from the account, the thief will not be able to complete the crime. You may also be able to stipulate specific transactions that require an in-person visit to the bank – money transfers, for example.