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9 Ways to Take Cyber Security into Your Own Hands

As many ways as cyber criminals have to hack or defraud you, there are ways to protect yourself from many of these deceptive crimes.

From your bank accounts, to your social media presence, to your identity, you can make yourself less vulnerable to an attack. Tower offers free products and services designed to help you fight fraud. Be sure to take advantage of them.

Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.
Monitor all of your accounts closely for any transactions or charges you don’t recognize. Experts say you should come up with a system that works for you to do this at least monthly.

  1. Set up account alerts in Home Banking and push notifications in Tower’s Mobile App. Account alerts are a proactive way you can help identify and fight fraud on your accounts. Once you set up account alerts Tower will alert you if a large transaction posts to your account, For instance, get an alert when there is a large withdrawal. You probably always have your phone with you, so another way to monitor your accounts is with Tower’s Mobile App. These allow you to get real-time information via push alerts sent right to your mobile device.
  1. Set up Debit Card Controls. These enable you to use your Home Banking account to lock and unlock your Tower debit card in the event you misplace it or it is stolen. Debit Card Controls also give you more control over card security by allowing you to set parameters on how and where your debit card can be used—by transaction type, merchant category, location or transaction amount. Real-time alerts keep you up to the minute on account activity.
  1. Set up SmartControls™ alerts. This tool allows you to set up alerts and controls for your Tower Mastercard credit card. Monitor activity like foreign purchases or large transactions. To set up SmartControls, login to Home Banking and go to your Tower Mastercard account, then Account Services.
  1. Sign up for Tower eStatements. Mailbox tampering is still a leading method for identity theft, so the less sensitive paper mail you receive the better. Along these lines, you can further protect yourself by paying your bills online with Tower’s Bill Payment. It’s just one more way to avoid bills and account information sitting in your mailbox.
  1. Check your credit report. You’re entitled to one free credit report each year at annualcreditreport.com from each credit reporting company—Transunion, Equifax and Experian. Ensure that the information on all of your credit reports is correct and up to date. Be on the lookout for any new accounts that you did not authorize or any suspicious activity. You may want to take it one step further and place a credit freeze on your credit report. That way, no one can open new accounts in your name. To correct errors on your credit report, contact the credit bureau that is showing erroneous information. More information can be found at ftc.gov.
  1. Report fraud or suspicious activity promptly. If your Tower debit or credit card is lost or stolen, or if you suspect fraudulent activity on your account, notify Tower Call 301-497-7000 or 866-56-TOWER. Here is a list of all Tower contact numbers.
  1. Update your login information. Customize your Home Banking username and password. Choose logins that are hard for others to guess but easy for you to remember. Don’t use account numbers, children’s or pet’s names, or other easily identifiable information. Change your Home Banking login often and don’t use the same one for multiple accounts. Use strong passwords and include a timeout that requires you to re-enter your password after a brief period of inactivity.
  1. Be on the lookout for “skimmers” on ATMs, gas station pumps, and other machines with card readers. Skimmers are small devices installed over the normal card reading slot. The skimmer reads your credit or debit card information, stores it, and the crook returns later to remove the skimmer and retrieve the stored information. Skimming devices aren’t always noticeable, and they get harder to detect all the time. What can you do? Before you insert your card, pull on the card reader to be sure it can’t be removed. If you are at an ATM, cover the keypad when you enter your PIN in case there’s a hidden camera. If an ATM keeps your card, contact your financial institution immediately.
  1. Educate yourself. Finally, it’s good to be on top of the latest fraud schemes. Tower makes it easy to educate yourself with fraud prevention and cybersecurity articles on our Financial Know-How page at towerfcu.org. You can also check the Federal Trade Commission’s website often for new scam alerts.

Be assured that Tower places the highest importance on securing your accounts, including training all staff to recognize and combat fraud. We also continue to invest in banking technologies and regularly upgrade our systems with multifactor authentication and encrypted technology.

Join us in the fight against fraud. Check your accounts often, set up alerts, and immediately notify us if you notice any errors or strange activity.

Resources; Federal Trade Commission; AnnualCreditReport.com