Protecting Your Internet Identity
The internet makes a lot of everyday tasks faster and more convenient, like shopping, researching, banking, and communicating on the go. The internet is a very useful tool, but it can leave you vulnerable to scammers, hackers, and identity thieves.
Protecting your financial identity is very crucial. Together with Impact Credit Union, you can take steps to prevent and detect identity theft and fraud. The most important step to protecting yourself is to never give out account information to anyone that comes asking for it. Impact Credit Union does not call, text or send emails to ask for account information. Below you will find some tips, resources, and trusted advice to help keep your financial identity secure.
Secure Your Computer
The internet gives you access to countless products and services. At the same time, it can leave you open to scammers, hackers, and identity thieves. Below are some tips for how to protect your information and your computer while online
- Install a firewall. This is the primary block between you and other computers on the network.
- Install, run, and update antivirus and antispyware programs.
- Ensure your browser is up-to-date with security patches.
- Never use links within e-mail to visit a Web site. Open a new browser window and type the URL in the address bar.
- Don’t fill out e-mailed forms that ask for personal information.
- The only way you should send credit card or account information is via a secure Web site (https://)
Social engineering is a technique used by criminals to gain access to your computer. The purpose of social engineering is usually to secretly install spyware or other malicious software or to trick you into handing over your passwords or other sensitive financial and personal information.
Social engineering scams can be both online (such as an email message that asks you to open the attachment, which contains malware) and offline (such as a phone call from someone posing as a representative from your credit card company). Below are some common social engineering methods.
- Phishing – Phishing uses e-mails that appear to be from a trusted source (financial institution) to trick users into entering confidential information on a fake web page.
- Vishing – This technique uses an interactive voice response (IVR) system to recreate a legitimate-sounding copy of a financial institution's IVR system. The victim is prompted to "verify" various financial information. More advanced systems transfer the victim to the attacker posing as a customer service agent for further questioning.
- Smishing – The victim receives a text message telling them to call a toll-free number, which is answered by a fake interactive voice-response system that tries to fool you into providing your account number and password.
- Baiting – An attacker will leave a software-infected computer disk or USB flash drive in a location such as a bathroom, elevator or parking lot. The attacker gives it a legitimate looking label and name, then simply waits for the victim to use the device. Baiting can also take the form of an App for your mobile phone. These Apps are designed to look and feel like legitimate Apps.
Protect Your Information
- Be cautious of and don‘t respond to urgent, upsetting, or exciting e-mails requesting personal information.
- Be suspicious if someone claiming to be from your financial institution asks for confidential information.
- This information should already be on file.
- Review statements closely and report any suspicious activity to the source of the statement.
- If you generally receive statements by mail, call the company if a statement is late to make sure an ID thief hasn’t redirected your mail by changing your address.
- If you have online access, monitor your accounts frequently.
- That assures you’ll notice unauthorized transactions promptly and can take steps to prevent more transactions.
- Change your online banking and shopping account passwords often—every three to six months.
- Experts recommend using passwords with a combination of letters (upper and lowercase), numbers, and symbols.
- Request a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit-reporting agencies—Experian (experian.com, 888-397-3742); (equifax.com, 800-685-1111); and TransUnion (transunion.com, 800-888-4213).