Helping You Stay Safe
The use of computers and mobile devices is on the rise. However, the convenience provided by these tools also exposes internet users to hackers because so much personal information is included. It’s important to have top-notch security for your Online Banking activities to avoid falling victim to fraud. That’s why we want to help you use our banking products as securely as possible.
The following are tips you can use to improve the security of your Online Banking transactions.
Proper Security of Your Devices
You probably own an electronic device, such as a tablet, smartphone or laptop that you use to conduct various transactions online. While these devices interest hackers and other criminals, you are the biggest threat if you have not taken enough measures to make it secure.
Tips for Using Your Devices Safely
- Set your screens to lock automatically after a period of inactivity so your device will be accessible only by entering a strong password.
- Install or activate tracking software to ensure you can see your device over the web in case it's lost or stolen. In some cases, you’ll be able to wipe all the data contained in the device if it cannot be recovered.
- Enable automatic updates for the operating system software. (When manufacturers know there is a software vulnerability, they will usually push out a software update to patch up what hackers could exploit.)
- Disable location tracking when configuring your new device for the first time.
- Synchronization of your apps and devices isn’t necessarily bad, but be aware that the same information you shared may appear on other devices without your knowledge.
- Do not hack into your own devices since this will make all the security controls you have enabled useless. Bypassing your controls means the device is vulnerable to hackers.
- Avoid downloading apps from untrusted sources.
- Discard any apps you no longer use.
- Review and set privacy options for any new app you download.
- Download only apps that you need (and not just because they are popular).
A lot of data is stored in computers, tablets, phones and more, but what happens when you have problems with your device? Regular backups can help avoid loss of data. Backups can be done manually or automatically.
Tips to Prevent Data Loss
- Identify what you want to back up. Is it just the data or everything on your devices, including programs, that you want to back up?
- Determine where you will be backing it up. You can store it in an external device or use cloud storage.
- Determine how often you will be backing up. The frequency will be determined by the volume of data you generate, but recurring backups are highly recommended.
- Establish that the process of retrieving the stored data is effective by testing it.
- Store your backup in a different place.
- Restrict access to the location where you keep the backed-up data. Only authorized people should access it, only when it is required.
- Make more than one copy and store them in different locations.
- Ensure all backups are updated with any new information.
- Have a durable and hardy device to use for the backup to ensure the data remains safe.
Email communication is commonly used despite its lack of privacy protection. An email message is like a postcard in that anyone who gets access to it can read it. The moment you send an email, you can no longer control it. It can be shared on social media or forwarded to others. Email can even be used as evidence in some countries.
Tips for Email Security
- Avoid sending personal emails using your work computer since they can be monitored by your employer. Use your phone or other personal device when you need to communicate private matters.
- Cease from sending sensitive information by email altogether.
- Keep your email passwords secret. Your email is private, and no one else should have access to it.
- Limit work colleagues’ access to your work computer.
Proper Disposal of Devices
You have just acquired the latest mobile device available on the market. Congratulations! You may decide to discard your old device — but hold on a moment! Do you care about the personal data you have on the old gadget?
Mobile devices store quite a bit of information about you, and when you just throw it away, you expose your data to hackers. Note that disposing of the device can also include giving it to a relative or friend.
Tips for Disposing of Electronic Devices
- Back up all the data because you may need some of it later.
- Erase all information in the device. (Erasing the data means it is not recoverable, as opposed to deleted data, which can still be recovered.)
- The best way to clear everything is to use the “factory reset” function on your device, which leaves it in the same condition as when the device was new.
Passwords are supposed to ensure digital safety. However, despite our best efforts, hackers still find a way around them and access our private information. Weak passwords are easily targeted and offer hackers a huge opportunity. Using strong passwords is the best way to protect yourself.
Tips for Creating Strong Passwords
- Create long passwords — even though remembering them can be a challenge.
- Use a combination of special characters, letters (capital and lowercase) and numbers, making it difficult to guess.
- Use an easy-to-remember phrase, such as WeAreinD0wnt0wnBeaverD@m. (Note the numerals and special character.)
- Avoid using the same passwords for different accounts. Generate plenty of phrases you can easily remember.
- Change your password after using it on a different device than your normal access point.
- Do not share your passwords.
- Change your passwords regularly.
- Memorize passwords and never write them down.
If you are or suspect you are a victim of identity theft, please call 920-885-2700 or visit any of our full-service locations so we can take preventive measures on your bank accounts.
What to do Right Now
If you think you have been a victim of identity theft, there are steps you should take immediately to protect yourself and your finances. Acting quickly will give you the best outcome and the least amount of damage to your finances.
- Contact all of your credit card account companies and cancel your cards. Alert them to the fact that your identity may have been stolen. They will freeze the charges on your old accounts and issue you new cards.
- Contact a Personal Banker at American Bank and let him or her know that someone may have access to your personal information. The bank can close your old account(s) and open new ones for you. He or she will also transfer your money into new account(s) but only if you appear in person to provide photo ID and sign the necessary documents.
- Create an Identity Theft and Fraud Report to protect yourself going forward and to catch anyone that may attempt to use your old personal information to make a purchase or open an account in your name.
- Order your credit reports, which are free to you on an annual basis. You may also subscribe to a credit report monitoring service, which provides you with real-time updates of activity on your credit reports and your credit scores.
- If you receive federal government benefits and they suddenly stop, contact your Social Security office immediately.
The Waiting Game
While you wait to see if someone is caught red-handed or the authorities are alerted to a crime in action, you can freeze all activity on your credit reports. This prevents anyone from accessing your credit reports for any reason, thereby banning anyone from gaining any sort of credit account with your name on it. You can also request extended fraud alerts for up to seven (7) years after you suspect that someone has stolen your identity.
Protecting Your Identity Going Forward
Protecting your identity going forward is not difficult. Just be careful about how you share information and whom you share it with. For example, do not share your Social Security number with anyone, and always choose encrypted websites to make purchases. Never give your credit card information out over the phone in a public place, and always make sure your security features on your phone and mobile or computing devices are turned on.
There are other devices, such as credit card readers, that can be used at places like gas pumps to steal your financial information as well. To protect yourself against this kind of information theft, always go inside the station to pay for gas with your card. Likewise, be sure you can see what the drive-through employee is doing with your card when you pay for food or go into the restaurant to pay. If you lose your wallet or purse, begin calling to cancel all of your cards right away.
For more information on how to protect your identity from would-be-thieves, click here to watch a short video.