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Online Security Updates

Online Security Updates

Below are links to the latest updates we routinely send our Online Banking customers about a variety of online security topics.

12 Tips for a Safe Cyber Holiday Season

The holiday season is the busiest shopping time of the year. But retail stores are not the only ones who take advantage of this season. Cyber bad guys (hackers) are also preparing for a busy and lucrative season. Below are tips which may help you be a little safer online this holiday season.

Who really sent you that online holiday card? Electronic holiday cards are increasingly popular, but be careful about clicking on the links that show up in your mailbox. While we've become cautious of subject lines like "HELP! Stuck in the Philippines" or "Urgent: Must move funds from Romania," something that says "Merry Christmas from the Andersons" might slip through our defenses. Do you actually know any Andersons? And didn't you already get a paper card from them last week? It pays to be a little cautious when receiving and opening emails.

Keep a clean machine. All of the devices you use for shopping – including smartphones and tablets – should have up-to-date software including security software, operating systems, programs and apps.

When in doubt, throw it out. Links in email, shipping notifications, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.

Think before you act. Be wary of communications offering amazing deals that sound too good to be true, implore you to act immediately – including those about a problem with an order or payment, or ask you to view the website via a provided link. They could be, and often are, a hoax.

Get savvy about wi-fi hotspots. Don’t share personal or financial information over an unsecured network (a connection that doesn’t require a password for access). Using the direct web access on your phone (via a 3G/4G connection) is safer than an unsecured wireless network when on your mobile device.

Make sure the site is legitimate. Look for a closed padlock on your web browser’s address bar or a URL address that begins with shttp or https. These signs indicate that the purchase is encrypted or secured. For new sites, check online reviews.

Watch for typo squatters. Always take a second to look at the URL you typed into your browser and make sure you are where you think you are. Cyber criminals know we make mistakes when we type, and they've registered lots of typo-ridden addresses that are just a hair away from the one you meant to type. It could be something as simple as or say AuntSalliesTeaShop when the actual Aunt Sally spells hers with a Y, not IE. Criminals can almost perfectly copy the site , making you think you're where you want to be. Double check to be sure.

Use different passwords for each account. Criminal hackers really do keep searchable lists of all the account IDs, email addresses and passwords they've stolen. They can even rent those lists for pennies for a thousand names. So when they break into one account, they add it to the database. Then they try that same email address and password against a list of hundreds of other stores and banks. So, when creating accounts to purchase items, don’t use the same password that you use for your online banking.

Protect your personal information. Be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete the transaction. Make sure the information requested is only that needed to complete the transaction. Only fill out required fields on checkout forms. Check the website's privacy policy. Make sure you understand how your information will be stored and used.

Use safe payment options. Credit cards are generally the safest option because they allow buyers to seek a credit from the issuer if the product isn’t delivered or isn’t what was ordered. Credit cards are safer than debit cards.

Don't hand over your credit card number. It's tempting to let a website keep your credit card number and information on file. While it’s a little more work to enter your information each time you make a purchase, you are less likely to be compromised if a website is hacked.

Keep a paper trail. Save records of your online transactions, including the product description, price, online receipt, terms of the sale, and copies of email exchanges with the seller. Read your credit card statements as soon as you get them (or regularly check them online) to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized charges. If there is a discrepancy, call your bank and report it immediately.

Have a very happy and safe cyber holiday season.

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