Financial Education

Security

Security

Keep your financial information safe and sound with safeguards that protect you against everything from cyber-attacks to data loss. A few easy steps are all it takes to help prevent financial scams.


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Your mobile device provides convenient access to your e-mail, bank and social media accounts. Unfortunately, it can potentially provide the same convenient access for criminals. The American Bankers Association recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.

  • Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
  • Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
  • Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
  • Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re punching in sensitive information.
  • Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
  • Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in e-mails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
  • Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren't very secure, so don’t perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
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Though the internet has many advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams. According to Symantec, 12 adults become a victim of cybercrime every second. The American Bankers Association recommends the following tips to keep you safe online:

Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.

Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with.

Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.

Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.

Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.

Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

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Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’ finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable. The American Bankers Association recommends following these tips to keep your small business safe.

Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.

Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.

Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.

Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.

Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities for what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the necessary security safeguards.

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Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest-growing crimes in the United States. In 2014, there were 12.7 million victims of identity fraud in the U.S., according to Javelin Strategy and Reasearch. The American Bankers Association recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.

Don’t share your secrets.

Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.

Shred sensitive papers.

Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

Keep an eye out for missing mail.

Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.

Use online banking to protect yourself.

Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions.

Monitor your credit report.

Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies.

Protect your computer.

Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.

Protect your mobile device.

Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.

Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

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The weeks leading up to April 15 – tax deadline day – are often vulnerable ones for consumers, as W-2s and tax returns containing personal information circulate over the internet and through the mail.

According to a Javelin Strategy and Research study, 12.7 million Americans were victims of identity fraud in 2014. Though down from 2013, it remains the Federal Trade Commission’s number-one consumer complaint.

To help consumers safeguard personal information, the American Bankers Association recommends the following:

    • Don’t share your secrets.
      Don’t provide your Social Security number or bank account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Neither your bank nor the IRS will contact you requesting this information.
    • Beware of phishing emails.
      Phishing attacks occur when criminals use ‘spoofed’ emails and fake websites of trusted organizations to coerce consumers into sharing personal information. During tax season, fraudsters often pose as the IRS. Don’t be fooled. The IRS will never initiate taxpayer contact via unsolicited email to request personal or financial data.
    • Shred sensitive papers.
      Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away. For papers you must keep, like tax documents, keep them in a secure place. 
    • Keep an eye out for missing mail.
      Fraudsters look for monthly credit card statements, W-2s, tax refunds or other mail containing your financial information. If you don’t receive your W-2s, and your employer indicates they’ve been mailed, or it looks like it has been previously opened upon delivery, contact the IRS immediately.
    • Protect your computer.
      Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date, particularly if you plan to file your taxes online. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.
    • Use online banking to protect yourself.
      Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.
    • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.
      Additionally, if the IRS denies your tax return because one has previously been filed under your name, alert the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490. 
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