Consumer Information

Protect Yourself from Identity Theft

Understanding the risks and knowing how fraudsters might trick you is a critical step in protecting yourself online. You can make your computer safer by installing and updating regularly your:

  • Anti-virus software;

  • Anti-malware programs;

  • Firewalls on your computer; and

  • Operating system patches and updates. 

 

Here are some guidelines to protect yourself and your identity:

  • Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.

  • Turn on automatic software updates if possible, in order to keep all programs up to date and protected against known risks.

  • Along with computers, smart phones and other web-enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware. 

  • USBs and other external devices can also be infected with viruses and malware.  Use security software to scan them. 

  • Shred old documents, receipts and bank statements instead of placing them in the regular trash. 

  • Make online passwords secure and hard to guess.  Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and special characters.  Avoid using birth dates or other easily obtainable information.

  • Use separate passwords for each account and be sure to safeguard them.  Write them down and store them in a safe, secure location away from your computer. 

  • Be careful before clicking on links in emails, online posts and advertisements.  If it looks suspicious, it’s best to delete or mark it as junk mail. 

  • Limit the type of web activity you do when connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots. 

  • When shopping or banking online, be sure the website is secure by looking for a web address that begins with “https://”or “shttp://”, which means security is enabled. 

  • Be leery of emails or other forms of communication that claim they need your immediate action, that offer something sounding too good to be true, or that asks for your personal information. 

  • Be sure to back up your valuable documents, photos and video by making an electronic copy and storing it in a safe and secure location. 

 

You can also learn more about online safety and security at these websites:

www.staysafeonline.org

www.ftc.gov

www.usa.gov

 www.idtheft.gov

 

If you notice suspicious activity on your account or experience security related issues (such as a phishing email from someone claiming to be from the bank), you should contact us immediately at 410-529-7400.