There’s no doubt banking online is a quick and easy option for most people. Use of ATMs is also a convenient way to get cash. When you’re in a strange land, however, it pays to be a little more alert than you normally would. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, you really don’t know who is watching you. As a tourist, you stand out, sometimes for the wrong reason. So it pays to follow safe banking procedures always.
Tips for safe banking when using a public or shared computer:
- Ensure no-one can view your screen.
- Always, and I mean always, log out of your online banking site by clicking on the ‘Logout’ or ‘Sign-out’ icon.
- Close the browser by clicking on the ‘X’ icon, usually located at the top right-hand side of the screen.
- Always access your online banking through your bank’s main web address.
- Don’t give anyone your customer ID or online banking password.
- If you suspect someone has your online banking details, change your password immediately.
- If you are having trouble accessing online banking when you are overseas, know your bank’s phone number to call – and call them.
Tips for safe banking when using an ATM overseas:
- ATMs in every country and every region are different, and some are safer than others.
- Make it a point to take a friend or friends with you every time you use an ATM.
- Be aware of the environment around an ATM – is it well-lit, who is behind the shrub next to the ATM, who is that person sitting in the parked car near the ATM?
- Select an ATM with a continuous transaction surveillance camera.
- If possible, select an ATM that is monitored or patrolled by a security guard. (An ATM I used outside a busy, mainstream bank in Thailand actually had an armed policeman standing beside it!)
- Do not wear expensive jewellery or take other valuables to the ATM.
- Always cover the keypad with your hand when making an ATM transaction.
- If you get cash out – put it away immediately. Do not stand at the ATM and count it.
- Never accept offers of assistance with the ATM from strangers; ask the bank for help.
- Never lend your ATM card to anyone; treat it as if it were cash.
- Make sure you retain your transaction receipt. Do not throw the receipt away at the ATM site.
- If you notice anything strange, leave and return some other time. Even if you have already started a transaction, cancel it and leave.
As far as your security is concerned, you can never be too careful, too prepared or too aware. Amen.