Protect yourself from scams and cyberattacks.
Every day millions of people’s privacy and security are threatened by sophisticated fraudsters. There are ways to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of these attacks. Below we have outlined some tips and recommendations:
- Be aware of current scams going around and how to identify them. Scammers are thinking up new and complex tactics all the time. Stay in the know. Sign up for alerts from the FTC and review the Consumer Advice section for information about current scams and tips for avoiding them. Consumer Advice | Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov)
- Talk about these scams and preventing them with your friends and family. Knowledge is power. Share your knowledge with your friends and family.
- Think before you click. Were you expecting that link or attachment? If not, be careful before clicking as it may be a fraudster trying to Phish you.
- Beware of emails, text messages or phone calls that you did not initiate and that are asking for you to send money or provide sensitive information such as your account number or social security number. Scammers will claim to be from companies you know like a utility company, a financial institution, or even claiming to be a family member or a friend of a family member. They can make their phone number look like it’s coming from the company (spoofing) or make an email address appear as though it’s coming from a legitimate source. It’s surprising how much information can obtain about you from various sources such as social media or even data breaches. They present this information in the communication to set you at ease and make the situation appear legitimate. If you didn’t initiate the contact, you should disconnect the call and call back to a number that you know belongs to the company or individual.
- Review your free credit report annually. Getting your credit report can help protect your credit history from errors and help you spot signs of identity theft. Free Credit Reports | Consumer Advice (ftc.gov)
- Monitor your accounts regularly. Report any suspicious activity on your financial accounts right away. Don’t forget to also report fraud and identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice | Federal Trade Commission (ftc.gov)
- Consider the new password recommendations from The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). NIST recently released a publication of updated password recommendations. Complex passwords with special characters are no longer necessary and instead a long password is favored. It’s also important to have a different password for every online account. A passphrase like “thedogwantstoplayfetch” (The dog wants to play fetch.) for one account and “thesunisyellowandround” (The sun is yellow and round.) for a different account. This style of creating password is much easier to manage and takes the frustration out of passwords.
- Create a custom username. It’s not recommended to use your account number for your online banking username. You can update your username for our online banking by accessing your profile after logging in.
- Secure your mobile devices. Keep all applications and operating systems current. Delete any applications that you do not use. Don’t use public Wi-Fi. Use a password or bio-metric authentication so only you can access the information in your phone.
- Install good antivirus protection. Good anti-virus and anti-malware software is essential.