09/11/2017 13:11 GMT | Updated 09/11/2017 13:11 GMT

Banking Online? 5 Ways To Protect Yourself Against Online Fraud

Because criminals are relentless, and always on to the latest scam.

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Extreme caution should be exercised not only when transacting at ATMs, but online as well. That's because incidents of online banking fraud are on the increase in South Africa.

"Criminals are always looking for opportunities to defraud their victims, particularly at this time of the year, when they know that people are winding down for the holidays and spending their bonuses," said Kalyani Pillay, CEO of the South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric).

Here are a few tips from Sabric to stay protected while transacting online:

1. It is preferable not to do your online banking at internet cafes or unsecure terminals such as those at hotels or conference centres. Work under the assumption that any wi-fi network, especially in public areas, may be compromised.

2. Ensure that you have a robust firewall, and install antivirus software to prevent a computer virus sending out personal information from your computer.

3. Ensure that the apps you are using have end-to-end encryption. This ensures that communication remains only between the communicating users.

READ: The Top 3 Bank Card Fraud Methods You Need To Know About

4. When using wi-fi, even if password protected, it is best only to connect to websites that use hypertext transfer protocol security (HTTPS) encryption -- which provides security for a website's visitor. Your browser must show a little lock in the address bar which says "secure" to ensure that you are connected via HTTPS.

5. Make use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection from a reliable supplier. VPNs allow users to securely access a private network and share data remotely. They protect you online, like firewalls protect data on your computer.

Sabric further cautioned consumers always to verify all requests for personal information –– such as passwords and PINs –– when asked to do so via email or the phone. "No bank will ever ask you to confirm or update your account details via email," Pillay emphasised.