The statistics are staggering. Identity theft continues to cost consumers and businesses alike billions of dollars every year. Four out of ten U.S. citizens experience weekly and even daily attempts to access their personal information and other data while using their computers online. 18% of more than 1,000 U.S. adults polled in August of 2014 reported daily or weekly fraud attempts via mobile phones. 22% reported fraud attempts on their tablet computers. The bad guys are relentless, and so the rest of us have to be vigilant in safeguarding and monitoring our personal information.
The Internet is a very dangerous place if you do not have up-to-date anti-virus software on your computer or server. Remarkably, hundreds of thousands of new malicious programs are detected every day! You must also pay close attention to the sites you visit. Links forwarded by your friends in good faith may contain malware that can collect data about you, and/or put a virus on your computer. Many diligent companies now have Acceptable Use policies to set guidelines for employees that outline the risks and expected behavior when “surfing the web”.
There are many websites that have excellent advice on how to protect your personal information. Here
are some of the basic things to remember:
Make sure your computer and browser are secure. Set your firewall, anti-spyware and anti-virus software to automatically update and scan your computer on a frequent basis.
Don’t create passwords that include easily accessible personal information, such as mother’s maiden name or date of birth. Instead, use something unique that only you know. Using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters strengthens your security.
Don’t give personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you know whom you’re dealing with, and preferably only if you’ve initiated the contact. Never give out Social Security or driver’s license numbers. If you must share personal information, confirm that you are dealing with a legitimate organization.
If you receive an email asking for personal information, do not hit the reply button or click on any link in the email. Instead, go directly to the sender’s site by typing in its website address.
Look for secure sites with an “s” in the URL (https://) and a closed-padlock icon on the Web page when making purchases. These websites are secure.
Always double-check the URL to be sure you are shopping with the company you intended to shop with. A simple typo can help identity thieves.
- Consider the benefits of an identity theft and credit fraud monitoring service.
The Federal Trade Commission suggests a three-part defense to avoid ID theft:
- Deter identity thieves by safeguarding your information.
- Detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring your financial accounts and billing statements.
- Defend against ID theft as soon as you suspect it. Details of the FTC’s Avoid ID Theft program, as well as additional information, are available at their website – ftc.gov/idtheft.
The Monitor Bank will never call you and ask for your personal information. You should be suspicious of anyone who does. If you notice any activity on your Monitor Bank account(s) that seems suspicious in nature, do not hesitate to call us. The most important thing is our customers’ safety and financial security,
and we take these issues very seriously. Our number is 330-496-2981, or toll-free at 1-800-496-2971.