Sunday, May 1st  2016

Protect Yourself


How to recognize a phishing, mishing or vishing scam
Genuine banks and organizations will NOT contact you by email to request confidential and personal information.
If a bank or organization sends you a genuine request for some information, they should address you by name and not refer to you as 'account holder' or 'customer'.
A genuine bank or organization should take good care to ensure that any email or message they send to you does not contain typing errors and grammatical mistakes—many scammers make silly mistakes.

How to respond to a phishing, mishing or vishing scam
There are things you can do if you receive a suspicious message. If you receive an email, phone call or other message supposedly from your bank or another organization requesting your personal details, delete the message or hang up your phone.
Even if the email or message urges you to act quickly, do not panic—this is just a trick to make you respond immediately without giving you a chance to talk to others or to check if it is a scam.
If you receive a suspicious call or message that you think might be genuine, do not divulge your details until you have made some extra checks to satisfy yourself that it is not a scam.
Ring your bank or the company yourself to find out if it is a genuine message but never use the number provided in the email or message—a scammer will not give you the correct number!

How to reduce the damage if you think you have fallen for a scam
Report the scam - You should telephone your bank or financial institution if you are suspicious of an email, letter or phone call that claims to be from them, or if you think someone may have access to your accounts. They can advise you on what to do next. Make sure the telephone number you use is from the phone book or your account statement, ATM card or credit card.
Protect your computer - If you were using your computer when you got scammed, it is possible that a virus of other malicious software may have infected your computer. Run a full system check using reliable security software. If you do not have security software (such as virus scanners and a firewall) installed on your computer, a computer professional can help you choose what you need.
Change your passwords - Scammers may have also gained access to your online passwords. Change your passwords using a secure computer.

Check Security:  10 Things You Should Do
Guard your checkbook and checks
Never give your account and routing numbers to people you do not know, especially to anyone over the telephone even if the individual  represents him or herself as a bank employee
Guard your deposit slips. Never use your deposit slip for “scrap” paper and then give it to someone
Properly store or dispose of canceled checks
If your checkbook is lost or stolen, immediately inform us
When traveling for a period of time, it is wise to leave your checkbook at home, locked away, and purchase a travel card or use your ATM/ChekCard
Write your checks using ink pens ..never pencil
Write the payee name and the dollar amount in both numbers and letters, as far to the left in the allotted space and draw a line thru the unused space to the right of the letters and numbers to prevent additions
When writing the payee name on the “Pay to the Order of” line, make sure the name is spelled out so it cannot be altered.
Promptly balance or reconcile your checkbook register with your monthly bank statements

ATM Security:  10 Things You Should Do
If possible, avoid using ATMs during hours of darkness.  If you must do so, Try to have another person accompany you.
If an ATM facility must be used at night, try to select one in an area that is well lighted
When possible, try to choose an ATM that has limited foliage and is well trafficked
Thoroughly observe the area around the ATM
Be cautions of anyone who engages you in conversation as you approach the ATM, while you are using it or immediately thereafter
Be suspicious of anyone who closely observes you while you are using the ATM:  Protect your PIN from view
Spend as little time at the ATM as possible
Don’t count or needlessly expose cash at the ATM
Don’t leave your receipt at the ATM
Don’t reveal your PIN to anyone in person or over the telephone for any reason, even if the individual represents him or herself as a bank employee.

Identity Theft:  Things You Should Know
Use passwords on all accounts and your PC that are difficult to guess..don’t use  the same password for everything.  Don’t use passwords that relate to family names, birth dates, your SSN, addresses or your job.  Change your passwords frequently
Do not keep passwords on your person and don’t write them on your debit/ATM Cards, or on notes attached to your computer or desk
Be careful what you throw in the trash, such as bills, canceled checks, account statements, marketing solicitations etc
Shred or tear up your charge receipts, credit card solicitations, expired cards, statements, check, outdated documents and other sensitive personal information
Carry only the identification and bank/credit cards you actually need
Review your monthly statement promptly
Secure confidential information at home
Call your credit card company immediately if your new card has not arrived
Destroy and cancel old, unwanted or unused credit cards. Cutting them up is not enough
Don’t give private information to anyone unless you are positive who the person is and that they have a legitimate need to know
Never lend your password to anyone
Guard your mail
Be absolutely positive of the identity of anyone telephoning or e-mailing you to request personal information.  Be especially cautious of anyone claiming to be a bank or law enforcement official.  Arrange to call the person, using a phone number you can verify in the phone book
Do not give out person data over the phone, through the mail or on the Internet unless you have initiated the contact
Periodically check your credit report to see if there are loans or credit cards outstanding that you don’t know about
Never write down your PIN
Guard your Social Security Number. Never carry it in your wallet or write it on checks
Give your Social Security Number only when absolutely necessary.  Ask to use other identifiers
Be careful of who is around you at ATMs. “Shoulder surfers” can get your PIN number and gain access to  your account
Do not allow your credit card out of your sight when paying for products or services
Do not leave your wallet/purse/checkbook in your car