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Protecting Your Personal Information Online Is Important


As more and more people bank and shop online, proper internet security is more important than ever. Protecting your information can be as simple as regularly reviewing your bank accounts and reporting any suspicious activity. 

There are a number of other things you can do to stay safer online. We've broken down the top security tips that can help you stay aware and alert when browsing online.

Tips to Help Protect Yourself Online

  • Watch how much you share online. The more you post about yourself on social networking sites, the easier it might be for someone to use that information to access your accounts, steal your identity and more. Maximizing your privacy settings on social networking sites can also help protect your personal information.
  • Think before you download an app. It’s a good idea to review the privacy policy and understand what personal data an app can access before you download. It’s best to purchase or download apps from authorized stores.
  • Avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi. If possible, try to avoid accessing unsecured public Wi-Fi on your devices. Using it can make you vulnerable to predatory practices. And if you must use it, avoid entering compromising information, like your Social Security number or financial information, on any websites. Better yet, use a VPN, or virtual private network, to do your browsing when you’re not at home.
  • Be careful about what you click. Look for security-enabled website addresses that start with “https” (the extra “s” indicates security). These sites take extra measures to help secure your information. This is particularly important if you’re making purchases using your credit card. If you suspect a link might give you a virus or steal personal data, don’t click on it. If the link was sent to you, talk to the sender directly to verify where it came from.
  • Protect your devices. If you don’t have your security software, web browsers, and devices set to update automatically, turn on those automatic updates now. Set your bluetooth to the highest security setting available, and for extra security, disable your phone's bluetooth function when you aren't using it. Use your phone's built-in security features by setting a PIN or password to prevent unauthorized access if your phone is lost or stolen
  • Avoid sharing personal information. Never share identifying details, like your full name, address, or financial information with strangers you meet online. You should also be careful about the usernames you create for websites — there’s no need for them to include your real name. And be sparing with the amount of information you share in online surveys or forms. Most of the time, little to no personal information is genuinely needed to complete them.
  • Be Social Network Safety Savvy. By following a few simple safety tips you can take advantage of these opportunities without someone taking advantage of you. Treat links with caution, even those that appear to be sent by a friend, customer or trusted company. Visit our Social Media Safety page for more tips to help you stay safe on Social Media

Computer Safety

Your computer holds a lot of information about you and is the first line of defense when it comes to preventing online fraud. There are some very simple steps you can take to protect yourself that require little to no work to maintain once set up.
  • Anti-virus and anti-spyware software - Install anti-virus and anti-spyware security software from a well-known company and keep it up to date. Set it to automatically install updates. A couple of examples of anti-virus and anti-spyware software companies are Symantec (Norton) and McAfee.
  • Firewall - While connected to the Internet, use a firewall to protect your computer from unauthorized access. Set it up to block unsolicited requests for outgoing communications and to update automatically. There are a variety of options, so be sure to do a little research to find out what type of firewall is best for you and your situation.

Only Shop Online with Companies You Know, Trust and are Able to Verify.

Always remember to:

  • Go to the main website of the company or bank you do business with, instead of clicking on a link from the body of an e-mail message.
  • Only provide credit card or account information if you have initiated the transaction. A common phishing tactic is to ask you to "verify" or "update" your information.
  • Log off the website after making a purchase with your credit or debit card. If you aren't able to log off, close your browser window to prevent unauthorized access to your account information.
  • Decline offers to "save your information" in order to speed up future buying processes. When you save your information, it is stored on that company's servers, which if compromised can leave you vulnerable.
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