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Tips: Protect Yourself

7 Tips for Protecting Yourself Online

Though the internet has many advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams. Ledyard recommends the following tips to keep you safer online:

  1. Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
  2. Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. Use unique passwords for all financial online accounts. Never share your password, account number, PIN or answers to security questions.
  3. Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at spam@uce.gov and to the company, bank or organization impersonated in the email.
  4. Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother's maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
  5. Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.
  6. Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.
  7. Read the site's privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don't see or understand a site's privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

8 Tips to Protect Your Identity

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In 2013, an American fell victim to identity fraud every two seconds. Ledyard recommends following these tips to keep your information - and your money - safer.

  1. Don't share your secrets. Don't provide your Social Security number of account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites. 
  2. Shred sensitive papers. Shred receipts, bank statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.
  3. Keep an eye out for missing mail. Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don't mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.
  4. Use online banking to protect yourself. Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases of more than $500.
  5. Monitor your credit report. Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.
  6. Protect your computer. Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser's padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an "s" after the "http" to be sure the website is secure.
  7. Protect your mobile device. Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer's recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments - especially from senders you don't know.
  8. Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

12 Ways to Protect Your Mobile Device

Your mobile device provides convenient access to your email, bank and social media accounts. Unfortunately, it can potentially provide the same convenient access for criminals. Ledyard recommends following these tips to keep your information - and your money - safer. 

  1. Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
  2. Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
  3. Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  4. Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary "permissions."
  5. Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps.
  6. Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
  7. Tell your financial institution immediately if you change your phone number or lose your mobile device.
  8. Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you're punching in sensitive information.
  9. Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer's recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen.
  10. Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don't know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
  11. Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren't very secure, so don't perform banking transactions on a public network. If you need to access your account, try disabling the Wi-Fi and switching to your mobile network.
  12. Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

5 Ways to Protect Your Small Business from Account Fraud

Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business' finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable. Ledyard recommends following these tips to keepyour small business safer. 

  1. Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers. 
  2. Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.
  3. Partner with your bank to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to your banker about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, device authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits help protect you from fraud.
  4. Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop-ups and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.
  5. Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don't, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover. Talk to your banker if you have any questions about your responsibilities.

Other General Cybersecurity Tips

  1. Do not save credit or debit card, banking account or routing numbers, or other financial information on your computer, phone or tablet. 
  2. Never give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or on the Internet unless you've initiated the contact and are sure you know who you're dealing with. If you must share personal information, always confirm that you are dealing with a legitimate organization.
  3. Never use your Social Security number on your driver's license or other forms of identification.
  4. Banks will not ask you to verify personal information over the phone or via email. If you receive a phone call or email asking you to verify information, end the call, do not respond, and call the bank directly.
  5. If you receive an email asking for personal information, do not hit the "reply" button or click on any website link in the email. Instead, go directly to the sender's website by typing in the sender's website address.
  6. Do not plug in unknown or unfamiliar jump drives into your laptop or desktop computer.
  7. Protect your personal information. Don't leave sensitive documents containing personal information where anyone can see it.
  8. Use a shredder before disposing of personal records, espeically financial records - preferably a cross-cut shredder. (Thieves have been known to paste together singleshred documents to obtain information.)
  9. Don't use an automatic log-in feature on your computer.

For more information on Identify Theft please visit the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation's website at: https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/assistance/protection/IdTheft.html

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