Data breaches are on the rise and have become almost commonplace. Identity theft consistently tops the Federal Trade Commission’s list of consumer complaints and over 30 million Americans have experienced some type of it.
Keeping Your Personal Information Secure Online
While you can’t usually protect yourself against data breaches, you can take steps to protect your personal information online.
- Don’t give out personal information online or via e-mail unless you’ve initiated the contact.
- Don’t click on e-mail links; instead, type the company name into your Web browser and go directly to their Web site.
- Look for a padlock icon and “https” Web address to ensure information is going to a secure site.
- Don’t share too much on social media – crooks can use the information to answer “challenge” questions or guess passwords.
- Strong passwords are still one of your best defenses against identity theft. Pick a password that makes sense to you, and is easy to remember but difficult for others to guess. One suggestion is to come up with a phrase and use the first letter of each word as your password. Even better is to substitute numbers or characters for some of the letters. For example, “I love to ride my bike” could become “1Lv2rMb!”.
Keeping Your Personal Information Secure Off Line
When you go out, limit what you carry to only your identification and the credit or debit card you need.
- Don’t carry your Social Security card with you. Avoid carrying around credit cards or personal documents such as your birth certificate or passport unless you truly need them.
- Lock your financial documents and records in a safe place at home, and lock your wallet or purse in a safe place at work. Keep your information secure from roommates or workers who come into your home.
- Mail tampering is one of the top methods crooks use to steal personal and financial information. Unless you have a secure mailbox with a lock, don’t have checks mailed to your home. Take outgoing mail to the post office and don’t leave incoming mail in your mailbox for an extended time. If you are away, put a hold on your mail until you return. If available from your employer, sign up for direct deposit so paper paychecks are not mailed to your home.
- Invest in a paper shredder at home. They are inexpensive and can drastically reduce the chance that a criminal can find and use your personal information in the trash. Shred all documents containing your Social Security and credit card numbers, ATM receipts and blank checks that are sent to you from banks as part of a solicitation.
How Tower Keeps Your Information Safe and Secure
Tower takes the protection of our members’ personal and financial information very seriously. We continually invest in new technologies to keep your information safe. Despite the increasing number of data breaches at major retailers, rest assured Tower is prepared to protect our members’ information. When these breaches of the retailers’ data files occur, we do our best to respond quickly to notify members, cancel cards that may be compromised and issue new ones as soon as possible. And you can be sure that banking online using Tower’s Home Banking is safe and secure. We use the latest encryption methods available, combined with multi-factor authentication login security. Tower also offers a secure way for members to communicate with us via e-mail using E-Mail Manager inside Home Banking.
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