Make sure the bank is legitimate.

Do some simple online research to make sure the institution is FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) insured.

Go to the section of the bank web site called “About Us.” If there is no phone number or little data, you should probably take your business elsewhere.

You can also check directly with the FDIC to find out if a bank is legitimate. Visit the agency online at or call Toll-free numbers: 877-ASKFDIC (877-275-3342); TDD: 800-925-4618

Make sure the site is secure. Check that the Web site uses encryption for all transactions. If you have questions, call the bank for answers. Again, if little information is available, be cautious.

Protect your password and pin number. Keep this information secret, as you would with an ATM card. Don’t use codes that are easily guessed, such as a spouse or child’s name.

Keep good records. It is best to have records of all transactions, as you would with a brick-and-mortar bank, in case there are disputes. Be sure to print out confirmation pages since they are your receipts.

See also…

Business and Finance Law