How to Protect Yourself
Keep your information safe to protect you and your family from identity theft.
Follow these tips to protect your identity from being stolen online.
- Learn about fraudulent email and identity theft schemes such as phishing, vishing and smishing. These scams target our credit union members and non-members alike.
- Never send credit card numbers, account numbers, PIN codes, social security numbers or any other personal information that you do not want publicly exposed in an email. Any information sent in an email should never be considered secure. (We will never ask for this information on an unsolicited basis. We offer secure messaging for our Digital Banking members that wish to contact us electronically and provide this information to us in a secure manner.)
- Be highly suspicious when prompted to provide personal financial information over the phone. Hang up immediately and contact us directly (at a publicly published number) to verify the validity of the message.
- Minimize the number of different computers you use for Digital Banking. In particular, avoid the use of public computers, such as those at an airport kiosk or internet café, whenever possible. If you must use a public computer, always log out and close your browser when you are finished. Be sure that you are discreet when typing usernames and passwords to prevent scam artists from obtaining that information by simply observing you.
- Be wary of clicking on a link in an email to our website (or any website). We recommend typing our credit union's URL (or the appropriate website address) directly into the address bar of your browser or use a bookmark to visit our website. If you do click on a link in an email, you should verify that you are at the correct website by examining the web site's address in the web browser's address bar. Delete emails which are from unknown senders, or that have nonsensical information or spelling errors; they are likely fraudulent. An official-looking logo should not be considered safe.
- We recommend that you use the most current version of your browser, and that you enable the anti-phishing tools built into these browsers. Also, install anti-virus, spyware detection software and a firewall, and keep the programs updated for maximum protection.
- Switch to eStatements to lower your risks of identity theft and mail fraud.
- Sign up for free Bill Pay to pay your bills automatically and securely.
- Limit the information you share on social networking websites. Many settings do not allow full privacy, and identity thieves can gain access to your personal information, and even know when you are away from your home for extended periods of time.
- Set strong passwords, and never use the same one to access all of your personal accounts. Use a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters for maximum security. Do not write your password down and never share it with anyone. You may want to create a special password for particularly sensitive sites, such as for online banking. Do not use the "auto-complete" option on your computer which will autofill your password. While this is convenient, it defeats the point of a user-specific password.
- Regularly delete temporary files and folders on your computer devices. Ensure you are deleting "cookies,” which may be used to track your online activity, including sites accessed and passwords used.
- Be cautious when online shopping. Technology can scramble sensitive information, such as your credit card number, so that it can be read only by the merchant you are dealing with and your credit card issuer. This ensures that your payment information cannot be read by anyone else or changed along the way. There are several ways to determine if you have that protection when you are sending payment information on the web. Look for a picture of an unbroken key or closed lock in your browser window. Either one indicates that security is in force. A broken key or any open lock indicates it is not. Ensure the web address on the page asking for your credit card information begins with "https:" instead of "http." Some websites use the words "Secure Sockets Layer (SSL)" or a popup box that confirms that you are entering a secure area. These security protections do not work in email. Ensure you send personal and payment information in a secure web transaction.
- While these tips all apply to consumers, businesses should be aware of them as well. Commercial banking members should follow the tips above, and should also perform an online risk assessment and controls evaluation periodically to ensure the security of their online banking credentials and other sensitive information.
- Businesses are also encouraged to password-protect any computers that may contain member or business information. Ensure only trusted individuals and staff are able to gain access to the data.