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Protecting Your Information

Safety and Security: Make them a top priority!

There are many tactics that scammers and fraudsters will use to gain access to your information, and ultimately try to steal your identity and/or your money. It's important that consumers stay up-to-date on how to be digitally safe online. For your safety and convenience we have listed, described, and linked many resources to help you stay on top of protecting your information. Topics on this page include:

General Online Security

Here are some tips for staying safe online:
  • Keep your computer operating system patched, and up to date.  
  • Install a strong and reputable anti-virus software program and run updates to ensure your computer is protected.
  • Do not use public computers for accessing online banking as these can store usernames and passwords.
  • Avoid using public Wi-Fi hotspots because you don’t know what security measures are in place for those networks.
  • It’s important to not use the same password for all of your logins. It’s also recommended to periodically change your password. And never share your logins with anyone.
  • Using combinations of upper and lower case letters along with numbers and symbols will strengthen your password safety.  Using acronyms or letters from a phrase are much more secure than using standard dictionary words.
Here are some sites where you can find more information on Online Security:

 

Social Engineering

Social engineering is an attack that relies heavily on human interaction and often involves manipulating people into breaking normal security procedures and best practices in order to gain access to systems, networks or physical locations, or for financial gain. 

You can read more about Social Engineering here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_engineering_(security)

 

Phishing Scams

In the context of online banking, a phishing scam is where a hacker uses either email, text or a phone call to pretend to be your financial institution in the hopes you will supply them with your username and password. They may also try to acquire personal information in order to gain access to your financial information.
 
If you receive an e-mail claiming to be from a financial institution, do not give out any personal information or click on any links.  Emails of this type are “Phishing Scams”. Delete the e-mail without clicking on any links.  Scammers will try to trick you into giving out personal information, i.e. account numbers, passwords, PINs, social security numbers, to gain access to your accounts.  Contact your financial institution if you have any questions or concerns.   We will never contact you for personal information via phone, email, or through any other communications.
You can read more about Phishing here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phishing/
 
 

Malware

Malware is a term that describes many different types of undesireable computer software. Many scams these days involve the use of malware. Malware can be used against individuals to gain information such as personal identification numbers or details, bank or credit card numbers, and passwords. Victims of malware scams often have installed malware on their computers and are convinced or coerced into payiing to have it removed.  You should NEVER get an unsolicited call from ANYONE telling you that you have a virus or malware on your computer. You can read more about malware here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malware/

 

Public Internet Usage (Cafe's, Internet Hotspots, Etc)

Using free wireless connections sure can be helpful sometimes but it also has its risks. You can read more about staying safe on free wi-fi here: https://www.wired.com/story/public-wifi-safety-tips/

 

Using Antivirus

Most internet service providers now offer free anti-virus, however whether or not it's free to you, you should ALWAYS protect your computers with antivirus software. You can read more about the importance of antivirus protections here: https://www.csum.edu/c/document_library/get_file-uuid-c637bc13-7f5f-4104-8f8b-be0f028ba3e8-groupId-72269.pdf

 

Identity Theft Prevention

Did you recently get a notice that says your personal information was exposed in a data breach? Did you lose your wallet? Or learn that an online account was hacked? Depending on what information was lost, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft.
 
Here are some sites where you can find more information on Identity Theft prevention and reporting:
 

Inspect Your Credit

Credit reports contain information about you, including what accounts you have and your bill paying history. The law requires the major nationwide consumer reporting companies - Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion - to give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it.
 
Visit AnnualCreditReport.com  or call 877-322-8228, a service created by these three companies, to order your free credit reports each year.
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