Tips for Safe Banking Over the Internet
use of the Internet continues to expand, more banks and thrifts are using the
Web to offer products and services or otherwise enhance communications with
Internet offers the potential for safe, convenient new ways to shop for
financial services and conduct banking business, any day, any time. However,
safe banking online involves making good choices - decisions that will help you
avoid costly surprises or even scams.
brochure offers information and tips to help you if you are thinking about or
already using online banking systems. We will tell you how to:
Confirm that an online bank is legitimate and that your
deposits are insured
Keep your personal information private and secure
· Understand your rights as a consumer
Learn where to go
for more assistance from banking regulators
you are selecting a traditional bank or an online bank that has no physical
offices, it's wise to make sure that it is legitimate and that your deposits are
federally insured. Here are tips specifically designed for consumers considering
banking over the Internet.
key information about the bank posted on its Web site.
bank Web sites have an "About Us" section or something similar that
describes the institution. You may find a brief history of the bank, the
official name and address of the bank's headquarters, and information about its
insurance coverage from the FDIC.
yourself from fraudulent Web sites.
example, watch out for copycat Web sites that deliberately use a name or Web
address very similar to, but not the same as, that of a real financial
institution. The intent is to lure you into clicking onto their Web site and
giving your personal information, such as your account number and password.
Always check to see that you have typed the correct Web site address for your
bank before conducting a transaction.
the bank's insurance status.
verify a bank's insurance status, look for the familiar FDIC logo or the words
"Member FDIC" or "FDIC Insured" on the Web site.
Also, you should check the FDIC's online database of FDIC-insured institutions.
You can search for an institution by going to the at FDIC's
home page and selecting "Is My Bank
Insured?" Enter the official name, city, and state of the bank, and click
the "Find My Institution" button. A positive match will display the
official name of the bank, the date it became insured, its insurance certificate
number, the main office location for the bank, and its primary government
regulator. If your bank does not appear on this list, contact the FDIC.
bank Web sites provide links directly to the FDIC's Web site to assist you in
identifying or verifying the FDIC insurance protection of their deposits.
remember that not all banks operating on the Internet are insured by the FDIC.
Many banks that are not FDIC-insured are chartered overseas. If you choose to
use a bank chartered overseas, it is important for you to know that the FDIC may
not insure your deposits. Check with your bank or the FDIC if you are not
insurance purposes, be aware that a bank may use different names for its online
and traditional services; this does not mean you are dealing with separate
means, for example, that to determine your maximum FDIC insurance coverage, your
deposits at the parent bank will be added together with those at the separately
named bank Web site and will be insured for up to the maximum amount covered for
one bank. Talk to your banker if you have questions.
where to get more information about FDIC insurance.
worry about your deposit insurance coverage if you or your family have less than
$100,000 in all your accounts combined at the same FDIC-insured bank. But if
your accounts total $100,000 or more, find out if they're within the insurance
limit. Contact your bank for more information.
additional assistance from the FDIC about the legitimacy of an institution or
the insurance of your deposits, call the FDIC's Division of Compliance and
Consumer Affairs toll-free at 800-934-3342 or send an e-mail via the FDIC's
FDIC's Web site also has an interactive service called EDIE (Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator)
that can help you determine the amount of your insurance coverage. Or, you can
read the online deposit insurance brochure "Your Insured Deposit."
important to note that only deposits offered by FDIC-insured
institutions are protected by the FDIC. Non deposit investment and insurance
products, such as mutual funds, stocks, annuities and life insurance policies
that may be sold through Web sites or at the bank itself, are not
FDIC-insured, are not guaranteed by the bank, and may lose value.
you become their customer, regardless of whether you are conducting business
online or offline. You may also see a copy of it posted at the bank's Web site.
By reviewing this policy you can learn what information the bank keeps about
you, and what information, if any, it shares with other companies.
may want to share information about you to help market products specific to your
needs and interests. If you do not wish to participate in information sharing,
however, you have the right to prevent your bank from sharing your private
personal information with parties not affiliated with the bank, except in
certain limited circumstances. As of July 2001, your bank should provide a clear
method for you to "opt out" of this type of information sharing.
may have heard that some companies track your Web browsing habits while at their
site, to understand your interests and then to market particular services or
promotions. You may want to ask whether your bank tracks your browsing habits if
these practices concern you. Also, your Web browser may enable you to block the
ability of outside companies to track your browsing habits.
bank and your internet service provider may have more information about how to
protect your privacy online.
Help Keep Your Transaction Secure
Internet is a public network. Therefore, it is important to learn how to
safeguard your banking information, credit card numbers, Social Security Number
and other personal data.
at your bank's Web site for information about its security practices, or contact
the bank directly.
learn about and take advantage of security features. Some examples are:
is the process of scrambling private information to prevent unauthorized access.
To show that your transmission is encrypted, some browsers display a small icon
on your screen that looks like a "lock" or a "key" whenever
you conduct secure transactions online. Avoid sending sensitive information,
such as account numbers, through unsecured e-mail.
or personal identification numbers (PINs) should be used when accessing an account online.
Your password should be unique to you and you should change it regularly. Do not
use birthdates or other numbers or words that may be easy for others to guess.
Always carefully control to whom you give your password. For example, if you use
a financial company that requires your passwords in order to gather your
financial data from various sources, make sure you learn about the company's
privacy and security practices.
over your personal computer such as virus protection and physical access
controls should be used and updated regularly. Contact your hardware and
software suppliers or Internet service provider to ensure you have the latest in
you have a security concern about your online accounts, contact your bank to
discuss possible problems and remedies.
that nonfinancial Web sites that are linked to your bank's site are not
an added convenience to their customers, some banks offer online links to
merchants, retail stores, travel agents and other nonfinancial sites. An outside
company's products and services are not insured by the FDIC, and your bank may
not guarantee the products and services.
in everyday business, before you order a product or service online, make sure
you are comfortable with the reputation of the company making the offer. Only
then should you give out your credit card or debit card number. And never give
the number unless you initiated the transaction.
to your questions.
regulations provide consumer protection for both traditional and online
transactions. If you have any questions or concerns, first try to get answers
from your bank. If you're still not satisfied, contact the appropriate federal
a brief overview of the regulations, log on to the FDIC's Consumer Rights Web page. If you'd like to review the
regulations, you can look them up at http://www.federalreserve.gov/regulations.
to file a complaint.
you know your bank's primary regulator, you may file your complaint online or
via e-mail using one of the following methods. If you are not certain where to
file your complaint, you may contact any of the agencies listed below and they
will direct you to the appropriate office.
Deposit Insurance Corporation: http://www2.fdic.gov/starsmail
of the Comptroller of the Currency (e-mail): email@example.com.
of Governors of the Federal Reserve System:
of Thrift Supervision (e-mail): firstname.lastname@example.org
For More Information
more information about online banking in general, write or call the following
banking regulators or visit their Web sites:
Deposit Insurance Corporation
of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
20th and Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20551
of the Comptroller of the Currency
Customer Assistance Group
1301 McKinney Street, Suite 3710
Houston, Texas 77010-3031
of Thrift Supervision
Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) not shown within the document
Customer Assistance http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/questions/customer/index.html
(Electronic Deposit Insurance Estimator) http://www2.fdic.gov/edie
· Your Insured Deposit http://www.fdic.gov/deposit/deposits/insured/index.html
FDIC's Consumer Rights http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/rights/index.html