10 Simple steps to help insure your online security and safety when using your mobile device, laptop, tablet or desk top computer…
1. Your password should be hard to figure out but easy for you to remember. A strong password (one that is not easily guessed by a human or computer) will have 8 or more characters, including letters, numbers and symbols. Make sure to use different user IDs and passwords for your financial accounts and for any other sites you use online.
2. Using your Social Security number (or any other sensitive info, like a credit card number) as a password, user ID or personal identification number (PIN) is a bad idea…be creative. If someone gains access to this information, it will be among the first things they use to try to get into your account.
3. Don’t respond to emails that claim to be from CedarStone Bank (or any other company) requesting your account details. CedarStone Bank, nor any other bank, will likely solicit personal information via email. That should throw up an immediate red flag if you get anything from a financial institution via email that request personal information.
4. Only trust sources you are familiar with. Be very wary of email attachments and free software from unknown sources. Using or downloading software or attachments from unknown sources will expose your computer and the information on it to online fraud and theft.
5. Be careful of how much personal information you share on social media and networking sites….(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) Maximize your privacy settings on social networking sites. Don’t post your home address or date of birth. The more you post about yourself, the easier it might be for someone to use the information you post to access your accounts, steal your identity and more.
6. Be careful about where and what you click online. Look for security-enabled website addresses that start with “https:” (the extra “s” indicates security). These sites take extra measures to help secure your information. Keep in mind that links you receive in emails or in messages on social networking sites can be harmful or fraudulent, even if they appear to come from friends. Requests for personal information or a call for immediate action are almost always a scam. If you suspect the link might give you a virus or steal personal data, don’t click on it. Talk to the sender directly and make sure it came from them. When in doubt, don’t click it.
7. Be sure you have a screen lock on your smart phone or tablet. Many mobile devices give you the option of locking your screen with a password, helping you keep the data on your smartphone secure. This is a good idea…use it. Many people are wiping out their 401Ks and investments sending money to people they’ve met online. These Romance Scammers have many ways of misleading their victims and can be very patient, sometimes spending a year or more getting to know them. Learn more about how to protect yourself from online fraud from Melynda Bounds at our Lebanon, TN Main Office.
8. Keep bank account numbers, personal information and passwords off your phone. CedarStone Bank offers quick access to your accounts with one touch accessibility. We strongly recommend using your mobile screen-lock when using this feature.
10. Update with the latest security patches for your computer operating system, your internet browser and your mobile device. For mobile devices, this may require synching with your computer. Also, be sure to use anti-virus and anti-spyware software: They help find and remove viruses and spyware that can steal your information. When your mobile device starts to run sluggish or slow…power it off and back on…this refreshes the operating system and you’ll be amazed how much better your phone will operate.