Structural Changes in Banks for More Customer Delight

Top global banks and financial institutions are adopting new technologies to streamline their internal operations and align their resources to offer customers the best & innovative banking services. In order to provide customized and revolutionized banking solutions to the global businesses, banks first need to refine their work processes and take the crude out of it. This will help them to indulge in the big quotients like mergers and acquisitions, private placements, and bankruptcy and restructuring deals and providing sophisticated business banking to the clients. Modern banking and financial institutions rely on the top-end technology products in order to rapidly share information with deal partners to make sure successful operations in a more secure way.

Technology adoption simply drives efficiencies when it comes to data management, handling and accessing. With the help of latest banking software solutions banks can easily manage, evaluate and share information related to complex banking and financial instruments while maintaining complete security and control. They are also working on the better security measures for better financial transactions.

New banking applications and software solutions offers immense capabilities to the banking management that certainly help accelerate all operations. With the help of software applications banks can control the deal processes and handle critical information with due diligence. These software solutions also support sourcing of newly emerging opportunities so that banks can provide more invaluable banking solutions to the customers with lesser risk of frauds. They are also adopting secure web-based and mobile access solutions for the customers through these high-end technological solutions only.

Banks are also accelerating their operation efforts through various means like:

1. Speed up internal (banking and finance related) reforms
2. Access innumerable set of information to extract quality information
3. Find information easily, effectively and shorten waiting period of customers

Banks and financial institutions are also busy in collecting data for business insights and transforming it into activity for further banking transactions which will result in risk mitigation and better ROI. In this way they can respond more effectively to the customers’ queries. It also ensures transparency and consolidating of information on a single platform only. It enables tracking and reporting of banking information in a secure and sensitive manner.

All these measures help banks to adopt fast changing banking technology and provide the best banking solutions to the private organizations. It is also helping them to connect with their customers in a more personal way. In fact, banks have empowered themselves to effortlessly offer business loans, corporate banking services, insurance, investments, mobile banking, internet banking savings and checking accounts as well as financial advice to the businesses through the adoption of newly emerging technologies.

What the Banks Don’t Tell You About ID Theft

It is amazing how easy it is for a thief or malicious person to gain access to our personal banking information. Once they get that, they can get your Social Security number, copies of bank statements and even copies of every check that was written on the account. They then post this information on the Internet so that hackers and other people could access my accounts, steal money or harass you.

What the banks don’t tell you when they ask for your mother’s maiden name is this is a key password they use to allow access to anyone calling in claiming to be you. This name was fine before the Internet and data miners were able to aggregate your personal information and make it available online with the stroke of a finger. Now with a simple search on the Internet using sites like Intellius, Peoplesearch and others that list your birthdate, previous residential addresses and family members going back for generations, the bad guys have what they need to gain access to your most confidential information.

Try calling your bank to see what information they ask for when they want to identify you. If they ask for your mother’s maiden name you know you are vulnerable. If they ask for your previous three addresses where you lived you are vulnerable. If they ask for your birthdate you are vulnerable. Banks, schools and colleges and home mortgage companies are the most vulnerable to being hacked or deceived into giving out our personal information.

Many years ago I dated a woman for a few months. There was something about her that wasn’t quite right, my friends said she was crazy. I distanced myself from her and began dating someone else. Little did I know the nightmare that I would be subjected to for many years.

Feeling jilted she plotted to destroy me personally and financially. She lured me in by promising she would refer clients to me. From those interactions she gleaned enough information about me over time, that she was able to put her scheme into action. Being very clever, she hid in the shadows of the Internet where she searched and found my mother’s maiden name. She then was able to get my previous residential addresses from other sites. My whole life was for sale on the Internet for less than $75.

She then needed a male voice to impersonate me. For that she got the cooperation of her sister’s boyfriend who willingly impersonated me, even if it is a federal crime. She then got a Voice Over Internet telephone number that couldn’t be traced and could be easily and quickly changed. Then one day they called around after hours until she found where I had my bank accounts. The first thing the person in the Philippians call center asked the impersonator was ” What is your mother’s maiden name”? (As I had no idea this was a key security question when I opened my accounts years ago, I had answered truthfully. That was a big mistake! ) My impersonator answered with the correct information. The next question was ” what are the previous addresses where you lived”? Again using information taken from Internet searches the imposter answered correctly. I had also used a portion of my former email address as a log in online, another big mistake! The bank call center person then assigned the imposter a new password so he could access my account online. Once she inside my account they went into my personal profile and took my social security number, copies of my bank statements and copies of the checks I wrote. That way they knew everyone I wrote checks to so when they called again they would be able to reference a check number, amount and the payee’s name as an identifier. She then put this information on the Internet and my problems began.

What I learned is even if you know who did this to you, the banks will fight not to give you the records of their intrusion because they don’t want to get sued; the police won’t do anything because they consider ID Theft to be a non-violent crime; the Courts won’t do anything for the same reason, especially if they didn’t take more than $500 and Social Security won’t issue you a new Social Security number unless you are going into witness protection or have been nearly killed.

To protect yourself against ID Theft go to your bank and change your mother’s maiden name to another name that is not part of your family history going back several generations. For example, if your mother’s maiden name is Johnson change it to Brown if there was never a Brown in your family. Then ask your bank If they will allow you to create a second security password to identify you. If they do, then create a password that is a combination of a name/word you can easily remember and four numbers. Don’t use your street number and street name for obvious reasons.

After I made those changes they tried to impersonate me again, but this time they didn’t know that I changed the maiden name or second password on the account, and it wasn’t part of my father or mother’s family heritage, so they were stopped from gaining access to my accounts. Had they managed to figure out the maiden name they would have been tripped up with the second security question that is a name/word and number that had no relationship to where I had lived, birth dates or anything else in my life they could find out online.

We can’t protect against the Bank’s getting hacked, we can’t protect against having our loan applications on laptops that are stolen from bank employees, we can’t protect against call center employees not carefully evaluating callers, but what we can do is make these two simple changes to our account profile that will stop a lot of the ID Theft that can hurt us for decades.

Also, check to see if the real estate you own is listed on the Internet with your name. In many States they publish the addresses of the property you own and your name as the owner making it easy for people to retitle your property, refinance it and steal thousands of dollars before you know it. You only find out you have been scammed when the bank starts foreclosure proceedings against your house for not paying the new mortgage.

If you own a small business be sure to check your company listing on the Internet every week. Thieves are creating accounts in the name of small businesses which are then listed on major search engines. They rent a PO Box at a shipping store and then file a change of address form with the Post Office to redirect your payments to a phony bank account where they cash your checks or impersonate you. If you find your company information has been changed, contact the search engine and data base owner and report the fraud immediately and get the phony listing removed.

Use These Tips to Improve Mobile Banking Security

Modern bank customers rarely think twice about logging into a mobile device to check accounts and schedule transactions. Mobile apps are convenient and user friendly. According to a Federal Reserve report, over half of smartphone users with bank accounts used mobile banking in 2015. Online banking via a mobile device also represents a security risk. Cybercriminals use a variety of techniques to gain entrance to individual user accounts and bank information.

Both Customers and Financial Institutions Play a Role in Online Banking Security

Financial institutions and banking customers are responsible for mobile banking security. Both parties must exercise caution and use security best practices to reduce the risk of mobile threats. Customers are responsible for using their devices in a security conscious way. Banks must develop, maintain, and optimize formal applications designed to protect end users.

Banking security breaches can lead to a loss of financial assets, identity theft, and other adverse outcomes. Every business-related security threat can cost organizations millions of dollars in remediation activities and harm institutional credibility. A proactive approach to online banking security effectively reduces the risk of cybersecurity incidents and improves customer confidence in mobile financial activities.

5 Tips Customers Can Use to Improve Mobile Banking Security

Mobile users often take device security for granted. Apple users trust in the company’s security practices. The Android platform carries a potentially higher degree of risk as an open digital ecosystem. When device users presume the safety of apps they download and the security of their devices, they may accidentally open a backdoor to malicious activities. Customers can use these five tips to protect the security of their mobile online banking activities:

  1. Only use official banking apps and secure websites. If you plan to use a mobile device for banking activities, download the official banking app. Look for information on the website to confirm the app’s legitimacy, and avoid using your mobile browser to access your bank account. Some users link their bank accounts to budget apps or other money management apps. Remember that every account you connect to your bank account represents a potential risk. Safeguard your information with official and secure apps.
  2. Double check the security of all third party apps. Cybercriminals may gain access to your device through a third party app not associated with an official banking app. For example, someone could sneak a malware program designed to record keystrokes in with a third party app. Using this type of technology, a criminal could potentially obtain information about your login credentials and online activities.
  3. Avoid using bank-related links. As an end user, you may assume the validity of a link in a text message or email. Unfortunately, some criminals use phishing and spoofing practices to obtain revealing information from seemingly innocent interfaces. Always back out of a message and go through official channels to access your account.
  4. Never check your bank account while using a public network. Public Wi-Fi and other public networks are notoriously insecure. Use cellular network connectivity or a VPN (virtual private network) to protect your activities while in public.
  5. Always lock and keep track of your mobile devices. If you leave your device unlocked on a park bench, a malicious individual could take advantage of the situation. Use the lock functions on smartphones, never save login information on your apps, and try to keep track of all your mobile devices.

Is Banking Online Safe?

About 80% of us either bank or pay bills online, so we must think that it is safe… right. Nothing you do online is 100% safe. You are sending your personal information into the internet cloud. If we understand how online security works and take necessary precautions, banking can be very safe.

The first thing to do is make sure that the device you are using, PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone, has all the security updates installed. Use some type of internet security software and keep it up to date. If you have home Wi-Fi make sure that you have changed the default administrator password and that you turned on the latest Wi-Fi security. I would also turn off the broadcast, so that your Wi-Fi does not appear when someone is searching for hot spots.

Now that you are all secure what about your bank, here are some things to look for:

  • Make sure that your bank is FDIC insured, check the FDIC website for current information.
  • When going to your bank’s web site make sure that you see “HTTPS” in the address bar. This encrypts the data that you send.
  • 128-bit encryption should be used when transmitting data, your bank’s web site should tell you what they use.
  • When setting up a password use upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols, they all should be random and the longer the better. Now might be a good time to look into a password manager to keep track of all your passwords.
  • Some banks use a second authentication method, when logging in you will see a picture that you picked out during your account setup, if you don’t see this picture don’t log in.
  • Never click a link in an email to go to your bank, the email could have come from someone trying to get your log in information. Always type the bank’s address in yourself or go to a bookmark that you created.

When using your smartphone or tablet for banking it is best to download the app from the bank’s web site, it will link you to the proper app. These apps use encryption when transmitting your data.

Your smartphone and tablet now has a wealth of your personal and banking information in it so don’t lose it and if you do make sure that you have some type of software that will wipe your data.

So after reading this article something should have become very clear-Banking safely online starts with you!

Is Online Banking Right for Your Business?

Online banking is one of the best productivity tools out there. It decreases physical paperwork, saves time, and helps make sure all of your financial information is accurate and secure. It’s much easier to track a budget and offers lots of different ways to stay on top of your finances. Unfortunately, online banking also presents its own security risks. To bank online safely, here are some tips to save you the trouble of hacked accounts and identity theft.

• Try to use the same computer every time you access your account. Using your login information on more than one machine increases the chances that someone could hack in and gain access.

• Try to make the computer you use one that will travel with you. Using a laptop for online banking means that even when you’re not at home, you won’t have to use your login information on a strange machine. This being said, don’t leave your laptop unattended, especially if you’re logged into a banking site or recently have been.

• If you absolutely have to use an online banking site from a strange computer, make sure to log out, shut down the browser, and clear all cookies and temporary files when you’re done.

• Use a unique password. Yes, it is convenient to have the same password for all of your online accounts, but it’s also a major security risk. Do not you use your online banking password for anything else; it may not be a major disaster if someone hacks your Twitter account, but don’t let that mean they have access to all your money, too.

• Don’t let your password be something easy to guess. That means no using anniversary dates, birthdays, your last name, your phone number, or any identifying information.

• Change your password often, at the very least every six months. Even if you password is unique and impossible to guess, it’s a possibility that a key logger or other malware could pick up your password.

• As obvious as it may be, it bears repeating: don’t share your banking password with anyone. Even if it’s someone you trust, that information transfer could allow someone else to gain access to your account without your permission.

• Don’t use your mother’s maiden name for the security question. That’s an easy piece of information to find on the Internet.

• Never respond to an email that asks for you to reply with your bank account number, your social security number, your log in information, or any other sensitive information. Legitimate institutions won’t do this. These emails are phishing scams designed to gain access to your online banking information.

• Invest in good anti-virus software for your computer and keep it updated. This will help protect you from any malware or viruses that could find their way onto your computer and into your personal and banking information.

• Keep all software on your computer up-to-date. Software updates are often security fixes. The notifications telling you to update and the install/restart time may be annoying, but they’re often crucial to keeping your computer secure.

• Pay attention to your bank or financial institution’s log in page. If something seems to have changed, you may have clicked on an illegitimate link (this is especially true if you followed a link from an email).

• Don’t enter personal information into a pop-up, even if you’re on the institution’s legitimate website.

• Be careful when opening email attachments, even if they appear to be from someone you know. Always double check to see if the person meant to send you an attachment, and delete emails with attachments from unknown sources.

• Be aware of common current email scams by checking websites like onguardonline.gov.

• Shop online only at reputable sites. If you’re giving any credit card or payment information, it should be somewhere trusted, often through PayPal, which is secure. Double check this, and if you’re not sure, err on the side of caution and find somewhere else to buy what you need.