The internet, while growing in popularity and becoming an everyday necessity for many, is also becoming more dangerous. With new scams and hacking techniques continually being developed by organized crime groups, both domestically and internationally, online fraud and theft are vastly expanding. To combat this threat, regulators are requiring financial institutions to assist in making online transactions more secure as well as educate customers of the threats that exist in the online world.
What Online Threats Could Impact Me?
- Phishing: The fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information (usernames, passwords, account numbers, social security numbers, credit card details) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Commonly used means include social media web sites, emails or online payment processors.
- WARNING: Legitimate organizations would never request such information from you via email. They would have such information on file.
- Malware (aka Malicious Software): Software designed to infiltrate a computer system without the owner's informed consent. Malware can include computer viruses, worms, Trojan horses, spyware, and other malicious and unwanted software. It is often used to collect personal data and spy on the user's activities.
- Ransomware: A very fast growing form of malware that targets critical data and systems for purpose of extortion. Commonly, ransomware is delivered through spear phishing emails.
- Trojans: Can perform functions on a computer without the consent of a user that can cause great harm to it.
This is only a small list of the threats that currently exist in the internet world today; there are many more and they are continuously being created. Nevertheless, each one is very dangerous and could potentially be harmful to you and your sensitive information.
- WHEN IN DOUBT, DO NOT GIVE OUT ANY INFORMATION!! If you want to ensure the legitimacy of an online attempt to gather your personal information, contact the individual/company directly (not through email) at a number that you have on record; not a number listed within the email.
- If an email is from an unknown source, DO NOT CLICK ON ANY LINKS, ATTACHMENTS, PICTURES, ETC. WITHIN THE EMAIL. This could lead to harmful software being installed inadvertently.
- Bank 1st will never call, email or otherwise contact you to request your username, password, or other login credentials for the online services we offer, nor will we contact you for your account number or other personal identifying information. IF YOU RECEIVE SUCH A REQUEST, DO NOT PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION. Contact us at (563) 422-3883 to report the incident.
Protecting Yourself From Online Threats
Each customer should evaluate its risk in regards to online threats and implement security measures to prevent and mitigate this risk. Please review the following sound practices and implement those that may be feasible for you.
It is recommended you:
- Ensure physical security of your computer. For example, use your PC's security features such as individual login accounts, ensure you log off your user when done, etc.
- Password protect your personal internet access.
- Use appropriate tools to prevent and deter unauthorized access to its network and periodically review such tools to ensure they are kept up to date. These tools include:
- Anti-malware and anti-spyware programs
- Anti-virus software
- Spam Filters
- NOTE: Be wary of pop-up messages claiming your computer is infected and offering software to scan and fix the problem. This could be malicious software.
- Be careful of what you are "clicking" on when visiting websites. High-risk websites (e.g. social networking or personal email) can unintentionally download malware.
- Secure websites should have a web address that starts with https rather than http. Do not log into websites that do not contain https as they are not secure and may not be legitimate.
- Don't respond to or open attachments or click on unsolicited emails.
It is recommended that you:
- Protect your online banking login credentials.
- Do NOT write your username and password down.
- Do NOT reveal your password to another person.
- Create strong passwords, i.e. use a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and special characters.
- Do NOT login to online banking when at a public internet access point (e.g. shops/cafes with Wi-Fi, hotels, airports, etc.)
Reporting Suspicious Activity
It is recommended that you monitor and report suspicious activity. Ongoing monitoring and timely reporting of suspicious activity are crucial to deterring or recovering fraudulent transactions. If you find activity that is suspicious or unauthorized, contact us immediately at (563) 422-3883.