As the scale and sophistication of electronic banking cyber‐attacks increase, we must continue to educate and arm ourselves with the tools to minimize the possibility of fraudulent activities. We ask that you and your family, or your business, familiarize yourself with such threats and proactively implement measures to protect against these types of threats by:
- Using a firewall, many internet service providers offer this type of service, firewalls protect you by controlling the incoming and outgoing traffic based on defined security rules managed by your service provider.
- Keeping your browser and operating system up-to-date, new versions and updates often include security enhancements and can be downloaded, usually for free.
- Keeping your anti-virus and anti-malware software up-to-date, anti-virus and anti-malware software needs frequent updates to protect against new viruses and other malicious software.
Safeguard Your Personal Information
American Bank will never solicit personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, passwords or other forms of non-public information by phone, email or text.
Social engineering is a fraudulent attempt to trick you into disclosing personal information such as account numbers, social security numbers, passwords or other forms of non-public information by phone, email or text.
- Do not give non-public information to someone over the phone, unless you initiated the call.
- Check your credit report regularly, look for activities you did not initiate such as applying for new credit.
- Always use caution when reading your emails even if you “know” who the email is from. Email Phishing is a technique used to infect your PC with malicious software or to gain information for purposes of identity theft using fraudulent email messages that appear to come from legitimate businesses or persons known by the recipient.
- Phishing emails will almost always ask you to click a link or open an attachment that will download malicious software on your PC or take you to a site where your personal information is requested.
- Shred financial documents and paperwork that contain personal information before you discard them.
- Always review your account statements, look for transactions you don’t recognize.
Monitor Your Accounts
One of the best ways to protect yourself from fraud and identity theft is by regularly reviewing your account activity and monthly account statements. If you discover suspicious or unusual activity on your accounts or suspect fraud, you need to contact us immediately.
Managing Your Passwords
One of the basic lines of defense is you, or more specifically your passwords. It is important to select complex passwords to protect you and your information assets. We recommend that you consider the following tips when setting up your passwords:
- Make Passwords Impersonal
Avoid using names and dates such as birthdays, wedding anniversaries, spouse names, kids’ names, grandkids’ names, pet names, etc. These are some of the most popular and overused passwords today, making it easy for hackers to figure out.
- Mix Letters, Numbers, Symbols and Case in Your Passwords
Mixing letters, numbers, symbols and lower-case and upper-case letters adds another layer of complexity to your password and strengthens your password.
- The Longer the Password the Better
Passwords should contain as many characters as possible. The length of a password is a major key to its complexity. With each additional character added to a password, the likelihood of the password being compromised is decreased by an increasing percentage.
- Use a Formula to Help Create Your Password
User formulas to help create your passwords, but be sure the formula isn’t easily identifiable. For example, “MarkJaneLucyBob” has a lot of characters but anyone who sees this knows you are most likely using your family names as your password. Something like “Ma*Ja*Lu*Bo!” is much more secure and not too difficult to remember.
- Never Reuse Your Passwords
Although it is tempting to use the same password for multiple websites, it is not a good idea. If your password is compromised in one place, then you are vulnerable in multiple places. Use a unique password for each website you log on to.
- Change Your Password on a Regular Basis
This becomes important if you are not using the above tips related to password strength and complexity. A complicated, lengthy password that is not reused on other websites might be acceptable to use for an extended period of time. Conversely, a short, simple password including that is reused on multiple websites should be changed much more regularly.
- Protect Your Password
Never give someone your userID or password. Never give someone your password based on email or phone call.