Protect Yourself Online
Online security includes following best practices while you are banking online, shopping or just surfing the internet. Following some simple guidelines can help protect your identity and allow you to conduct business online with confidence.
- Be selective about where you surf. Sites that are engaged in illegal or questionable activities often host damaging software and make users susceptible to aggressive computer attacks.
- Use a secure browser. Look for the padlock icon in the window browser, check for the website address for https (not http). The “s” stands for secure. Or check that the address bar is green which indicates that website is using an Extended Validation Certificate.
- Secure your wireless network by using a strong password and proper encryption tools.
- Select a strong password. Never use birth dates, first names, pet names, addresses, phone numbers, or Social Security numbers as your password. Instead, use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Be sure to change your passwords regularly.
- Don't choose "Remember My Password", particularly for online banking or transactional Web sites.
- Install program updates and security “patches” promptly since fraudsters will often take advantage of unpatched systems.
- Firewalls, antivirus and anti-spyware software will help protect your computer and your personal information preventing, detecting and removing malware, including viruses, spyware and trojans.
- Don't use public computers for sensitive transactions. Since you cannot validate the computer's integrity, there is a high risk of fraud when you log in from a public computer.
- Limit User Administrative Rights. Administrative rights are often necessary for uploads, downloads, installations, etc. Limiting these rights can protect against the inadvertent download of malicious software and viruses.
- Always sign off from online banking or any other Web site that you have logged into with a user ID and password. Utilize automatic timeout features that prevent others from continuing your online banking session in case you leave your computer unattended without logging out. When a computer is not in use, disconnect it from the internet or shut it down.
Additional suggestions for business customers:
- Educate your employees about corporate account takeover and other types of fraud.
- Restrict access to personal email accounts through a business computer as fraudulent email could infect your system. Consider a stand-alone computer for Online Banking and online transactions.
- Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly.
- Make use of available programs from the bank that can help safeguard your from fraudulent activity, such as positive pay, multi-person approval for transactions and device authentication.
- Do not share passwords. Each user should have a unique login ID.
- Consider a Cyber Insurance Policy to help cover you in the event of fraud.
- Notify the Bank when an employee with account or online access has left the company or access authority has changed.
Email commonly transports malware (malicious software), like viruses, spyware, trojans and keystroke loggers, that can result in identity fraud or computer damage. Phishing also threatens email users. Phishing is a type of email fraud in which the perpetrator poses a as a legitimate, trustworthy business in order to acquire personal and sensitive information, like passwords or financial data.
We, at Lafayette Community Bank, will never send an email that asks you to provide your User ID, password or other sensitive information.
Following some simple guidelines can help you safeguard your email environment.
- Never include sensitive or confidential information in regular email. Forged email purporting to be from your financial institution or favorite online store is a popular trick used by criminals to extract personal information for fraud.
- Never open or respond to SPAM (unsolicited bulk email messages). Delete all SPAM without opening it. Responding to SPAM only confirms your email address to the spammer, which can actually intensify the problem.
- Use caution when clicking on links within an email. It is safer to retype the Web address than to click on it from within the body of the email.
- Don't open attachments from strangers. If you do not know the sender or are not expecting the attachment, delete it.
- Don't open attachments with odd file name extensions. Most computer files use filename extensions such as ".doc" for documents or ".jpg" for images. If a file has a double extension, like "heythere.doc.pif" it is highly likely that this is a dangerous file and should not be opened. In addition, do not open email attachments that have file endings of .exe, .pdf, or .vbs, unless you are sure of the source. These are filename extensions for executable files and could cause damage to your computer if opened.
- Never give out your email address to unknown Web sites. If you don't know the reputation of a Web site, don't assume trust. Many Web sites sell email addresses or may be careless with your personal information.
- Don't Believe the Hype. Many fraudulent emails contain urgent messages claiming your account will be closed if sensitive information is not provided immediately or that important security information needs to be updated online.
- Be aware of bad grammar, spelling and design. Fraudulent emails and Web sites often include typos and grammar errors as well as unprofessional design layout and quality.
Protect Yourself Offline
Offline security is critical to helping you protect your identity. While online security is an important and current issue, a majority of identity fraud continues to take place offline. Following some simple guidelines for offline activities can help you protect your privacy and your identity.
- Lock your mailbox, if possible. Don't leave mail in your mailbox longer than necessary - especially if your mailbox does not lock.
- Hold your mail. If you are traveling, don't let mail pile up.
- Monitor mail closely. Take immediate action if bills do not arrive as expected or if you receive unexpected credit cards or a mysterious account statement.
- Be wary of phone calls that ask you to provide personal information, such as your account number, card number, Social Security number or passwords or PINs, especially if you did not initiate the call.
- Don't give out personal information in surveys. Surveys, both online and offline, can be dangerous if they ask you to provide confidential information.
- Be wary of Lottery or Sweepstakes scams that advise you that you have won a prize. Often you will be asked to send payment to cover the cost of redeeming the prize. These prizes rarely exist and you will be out the cost of your upfront money. If it sound too good to be true, it probably is.
- Safeguard your Social Security Number. Do not publish your Social Security Number on checks or other public documents. Do not carry your card with you; keep your Social Security Card in a safe place at home.
- Copies aren't necessary. Know your rights regarding copies of your driver's license. Business transactions, like checking into a hotel, do not require a copy of your driver's license.
- Take advantage of free annual credit reports. Credit reports contain information about your accounts and your bill paying history. Major nationwide consumer reporting companies are legally required to provide free copies of your credit reports. Review your credit report each year for accuracy.
- Keep your personal information in a secure place at home. This is especially important if you employ outside help, have roommates or are having work done in your home.
- Shred, Shred, Shred. Shred bills, bank statements, pre-approved financial solicitations and other confidential information before discarding them.
Visit the FBI website for more information on types of fraud schemes and ways to protect yourself.