In today’s high tech world, we are able to do things more quickly and conveniently electronically whether it is to send a letter via email, pay bills, or even go shopping online. With this increase in speed and convenience comes an increase in risk. Every day, unscrupulous individuals are busy developing new scams targeting the unsuspecting public.
One of the best ways to avoid fraud is to become an educated consumer, and we would like to help you in this endeavor. The more you know, the safer you’ll be. Here are some great tips on how to stay safe in cyberspace:
- Set good passwords. A good password is a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. It should not be a word or phrase that is easily guessed or personal information like your birth date or social security number. Change your password frequently. Don’t write it down or share it with others.
- Don’t reveal personal information via email. Emails and text messages can be masked to look like they are coming from a trusted sender when they are actually from someone else. Play it safe, do not send your personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, passwords etc. via email or texting.
- Don’t download that file! Opening files attached to emails can be dangerous especially when they are from someone you don’t know as they can allow harmful malware or viruses to be downloaded onto your computer. Make sure you have a good antivirus program on your computer that is up-to-date.
- Links aren’t always what they seem. Never log in from a link that is embedded in an email message. Criminals can use fake email addresses and make fake web pages that mimic the page you would expect. To avoid falling into their trap, type in the URL address directly and then log in.
- Websites aren’t always what they seem. Be aware that if you navigate to a website from a link you don’t type, you may end up at a site that looks like the correct one, when in fact it’s not. Take time to verify that the web page you’re visiting matches exactly with the URL that you’d expect.
- Browse securely. When logging in or entering your personal information on any website, always make sure you have secure browsing enabled by checking for a lock icon in the address or a URL starting in “https.” This means that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted.
- Log out from sites when you are done. When you are ready to leave a site you have logged in to, log out rather than just closing the page.
- Monitor account activity. Monitor your account activity regularly either online or by reviewing your monthly statements and report any unauthorized transactions right away.
- Assess your risk. We recommend periodically assessing your online banking risk and put into place increased security controls where weaknesses are found, particularly for members with business accounts. Some items to consider when assessing your online banking risk are:Who has access to your online business accounts?
- How and where are usernames and passwords stored?
- How strong are your passwords and how often are they changed?
- Are they changed before or immediately after terminating an employee who had access to them?
- Do you have dual controls or other checks and balances with respect to access to online banking transactions?
For more tips to stay safe and secure online, visit the FTC’s OnGuard Online page.