7 Ways to Protect Yourself Online
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. We recommend 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.
March 6, 2021
Lots of people are having trouble sleeping, thanks to the pandemic and all the parts of our lives it’s affecting. And it doesn’t help when you get a call saying you owe the government money. Oh, and, they add, you’ll go to jail if you don’t pay up immediately. That’s a scam, and nothing to lose sleep over. For those who are a little more cut off from people than usual, these calls might feel more real and worrying than they are. If you know someone might be cut off from others right now, reach out to them to make sure they know these calls are scams.
Here are some things you might share with them about government imposters. First, plenty of people have spotted calls, texts, and emails from bogus government officials. In 2020, people reported losing more than $174 million to government imposter scams, with a median loss of $1,250. Second, you can share a few ways to spot these scammers in the act:
- Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers manipulate caller ID to look like the call is coming from an official government number. Look up the agency’s number yourself, if you’re concerned, and give them a call. But don’t use the number in caller ID.
- Government agencies like the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the Social Security Administration (SSA) won’t call, text, or email you out of the blue to demand payment right away.
- Nobody legit will ever tell you to pay with gift cards, money transfers, or cryptocurrency.
- Never share personal information with anyone who contacts you. If you’re worried, look up the government agency’s information yourself to check with them.
October 20, 2020
Fraudsters have become increasingly adept at getting cardholders to share more personal information with stolen data. These fraudsters often use information stolen through data breaches at health insurance providers, reward program providers, credit bureaus, merchant terminals, and social media sites, as well as through malware programs deployed on personal computers, to mention just a few. Stolen personally identifiable information (PII) is combined with stolen card information, resulting in sufficient information to create profiles that fraudsters can use to position themselves as the actual cardholders.
The following tips will help you protect your personal data from fraudsters;
- A phone call from our institution’s automated dialer will only include a request for your zip code, and no other personal information, unless you confirm that a transaction is fraudulent. Only then will you be transferred to an agent who will ask questions to confirm that you are the actual cardholder before going through your transactions with you. If at any point you are uncertain about questions being asked or the call itself, hang up and call us directly. If a call is received by the cardholder, claiming to be our call center and asking to verify transactions, no information should have to be provided by the cardholder other than their zip code, and a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the transaction provided.
- We will NEVER ask you for your PIN or the 3-digit security code on the back of your card. Don’t give them out to anyone, no matter what they say. Hang up and call us directly. Fraudsters will often ask cardholders to verify fake transactions. When the cardholder says no, they did not perform those transactions, the fraudster then says that their card will be blocked, a new card will be issued, and that they need the card’s PIN to put it on the new card. Many people believe this and provide their PIN. The 3-digit CV2 code on the back of the card will allow a fraudster to conduct card-not-present transactions.
Regularly check your account online to see if there are any suspicious transactions that have occurred, but especially If you are unsure about a call or text message you’ve received. If anything looks amiss, call us directly for assistance.
- If you have received a voice- or a text-message from us and are unsure about responding to it, call us directly for assistance.
For additional information about what steps you can take to protect yourself visit the Federal Trade Commission’s website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-data-breach-what-do. If you have questions please call the Equifax dedicated support line at 866-447-7559; open every day (including weekends) from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. EST.
Identity theft is a serious crime. It can disrupt your finances, credit history, and reputation, and take time, money, and patience to resolve. Identity theft happens when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.
The FTC's website has useful explanations of how to protect your information and how to respond if it is stolen.
8 Tips to Protect Your Identity
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 Research. We recommend 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. 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.
- Monitor your credit report. Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
- 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.
ATM Safety Tips
- Know where your card is at all times. Notify St. Clair County State Bank immediately if it is lost or stolen.
- Keep your Personal Identification Number (PIN) a secret. Never write it down anywhere, especially on your card or leave it with your card.
- Never give your PIN to anyone. SCCSB will never ask you for your PIN.
- Be aware of your surroundings, particularly at night. Never approach an ATM if you feel unsafe.
- Never approach an ATM after dark if the lights at the ATM location do not seem to be bright enough.
- Cover the ATM keyboard with your hands or body so others cannot see you enter your PIN.
- Always take your receipts or transaction records with you when you leave.
- Do not count or visually display money you received from the ATM; put it away immediately.
- When using a drive-up ATM, always keep your car running and doors locked.