Fraud Prevention & Online Security
Can you spot a scam when you see one?
Know what to look for, and when to be suspicious.
Genuine banks and organizations will NOT contact you by e-mail to request confidential and personal information.
If a bank or organization sends you a genuine request for some information, they should address you by name and not refer to you as 'account holder' or 'customer."
A genuine bank or organization should take good care to ensure that any e-mail or message they send to you does not contain typing errors and grammatical mistakes —many scammers make silly mistakes.
How do I respond to something suspicious?
There are things you can do if you receive a suspicious message.
If you receive an e-mail, phone call, or other message supposedly from your bank or another organization requesting your personal details, delete the message or hang up your phone.
Even if the e-mail or message urges you to act quickly, do not panic — this is a trick to make you respond immediately.
If you receive a suspicious call or message that you think might be genuine, do not divulge your details until you have made some extra checks to satisfy yourself that it is not a scam.
Call your bank or company yourself to find out if it is a genuine message but never use the number provided in the e-mail or message — a scammer will not give you the correct number!
Reducing damage if you’ve fallen prey to a scam.
Report the scam!
You should call your bank or financial institution if you are suspicious of an e-mail, letter, or phone call that claims to be from them, or if you think someone may have access to your accounts.
They can advise you on what to do next. Make sure the telephone number you use is from the phone book or your account statement, debit card, or credit card - not from the suspicious email.
Protect your computer.
If you were using your computer when you got scammed, it is possible that a virus or other malicious software may have infected your computer.
Run a full system check using reliable security software. If you do not have security software (such as virus scanners and a firewall) installed on your computer, a computer professional can help you choose what you need.
Change your passwords.
Scammers may have also gained access to your online passwords. Change your passwords using a secure computer.
- Create secure passwords. Keep them private. Change them regularly. The strongest passwords look like a random string of characters to attackers. Use a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Update your firewall, virus protection, and browser software regularly. Use e-mail software with built-in spam filtering. Keep filters current. Don't open e-mails or attachments if you don't know the sender. Limit sharing e-mail or instant message addresses.
- When doing anything online, only deal with known, reputable vendors. Before doing business, look for and verify the company's physical address, not a Post Office box. Request a catalog by mail. Speak with a company representative over the phone.
- Don't fall for phishing, mishing, vishing, or other social engineering schemes.
- Back up all your valuable data and keep the backups under lock and key. Back up anything you cannot replace easily. The following are some storage devices and locations to consider: external hard drive, CD, DVD, USB flash drive, Online backup and storage service.
- Eradicate personal data from your computer before donating or disposing of it. Remember, manually deleted computer files may still be recovered by an identity thief. To remove files, search for "file shredder" or "secure file deletion" to find a program that is compatible with your version of Windows and other software. Call the computer manufacturer's technical services department and ask how to delete personal files. A third option is to have a reputable computer engineer safely overwrite your files from your hard drive.
Mobile Device Security
To maintain the security of your mobile device, you should take steps including password-enabling your device or require a thumbprint to access. Remote deletion software can be enabled that will allow you to delete your device's memory in the event it is lost or stolen.
You should regularly install operating system updates. Only download applications from reputable sources such as the iTunes and Google Play stores. Be cautious when using unsecured public wireless networks as your data can be intercepted. Use anti-malware software regularly.