There are many things you can do to help protect yourself from fraud and keep your personal information and accounts safe. A good place to start is with these security best practices.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE CYBERCRIME
- IDENTITY THEFT is the illegal use of someone else’s personal information in order to obtain money or credit. How will you know if you’ve been a victim of identity theft? You might get bills for products or services you did not purchase. Your bank account might have withdrawals you didn’t expect or unauthorized charges.
- PHISHING ATTACKS use email to collect personal and financial information or infect your machine with malware and viruses. Cybercriminals use legitimate-looking emails that encourage people to click on a link or open an attachment. The email they send can look like it is from an authentic financial institution, e-commerce site, government agency, or any other service or business.
- IMPOSTER SCAMS happen when you receive an email or call seemingly from a government official, family member, or friend requesting that you wire them money to pay taxes or fees, or to help someone you care about. Cybercriminals use legitimate-looking emails that encourage people to send them money or personal information. Make sure you know who you’re communicating with.
- CORONAVIRUS-RELATED SCAMS occur when criminals take advantage of you when your defenses are down during the pandemic. Please exercise caution in handling any communication relating to COVID-19.
- ONLINE SHOPPING SCAMS can put a damper on the convenience of making purchases at your fingertips, next-day delivery, great deals and an endless catalogue of purchasable items. While the increased availability of online shopping is convenient, it also makes it more lucrative for scammers to trick buyers into paying for goods they won’t receive or to obtain their personal information for financial gain.
BEST PRACTICES TO PREVENT CYBERCRIME
- WATCH THE FRONT DOOR. Weak or compromised passwords are the source of 80% of data breaches. A strong password is the first line of defense against cybercriminals. Your best bet? It’s safer and wiser to focus on picking passphrases instead of passwords.
- KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE. Update the security software and operating system on your computer and mobile devices. Keeping the software on your devices up to date will prevent attackers from taking advantage of known vulnerabilities.
- WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT. Stop and think before you open attachments or click links in emails. Links in e-mail, instant message, and online posts are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, it’s best to delete it.
- USE ENCRYPTION. Encryption protects private data with unique codes that scramble the data and make it impossible for intruders to read. Tower’s Mobile App uses the latest encryption methods available. With Mobile Banking, your private data is never stored on your device, so you can be assured that your account information is not at risk if your device is lost or stolen. In addition, Tower does not have access to or store Touch ID or Fingerprint-ID or Face ID authentication.
- USE TOWER’S E-MAIL MANAGER. For specific account-related questions, please use Tower’s E-mail Manager from within Home Banking. This will allow you to securely send and receive account related information such as account numbers and personal information. Just log into Home Banking and click “Support.” When you get a response, simply log back on and retrieve your detailed reply.
- REPORT SUSPICIOUS TEXTS AND E-MAILS. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the government’s fraud fighting agency, received 3.2 million consumer complaints last year. The FTC just launched a new website, ReportFraud.ftc.gov, which makes it quicker and easier to report scams, fraud, or bad business practices. Fill out the complaint form on the site. Your report goes into the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel database, which is available to federal, state, and local law enforcement across the country. When you submit your report, you’ll be given next steps you can take to protect yourself or recover from fraud.
Resources: The Federal Trade Commission, USAA, NortonLifeLock Inc.