We're starting the conversation this week by looking closely at some of the things you can do to protect your information online. Be sure to check back next week to learn how to protect your information in the physical world.
Protecting Your Personal Information Online
Tip #1: Don't Reuse Passwords
Using the same password for everything may be easier to remember, but it can make it entirely too easy for criminals. If you have the same password to all of your accounts, a criminal will have access to everything as soon as he has access to one. Try to use a different password for every account. Don't forget to take advantage of the optional security questions for an extra layer of protection.
Tip #2: Be Cautious When Using Public Computers
If you are using a public computer, make sure you never allow the computer to save any of your private information. Always log out completely when you are finished with your accounts, and make sure your login information has not been saved.
Tip #3: Order Your Credit Report Annually
Many people do not realize this, but every major credit bureau (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) will provide consumers with free copies of their credit reports every year. Your credit reports will be able to indicate whether or not any suspicious activity occurred in your name and if your identity may have been compromised.
Tip #4: Only Make Purchases On Trusted Sites
Online shopping can be a great convenience, but it can also be a potential danger. If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. If you make a purchase on a website that is not secure, you could easily become a victim of identity theft. To protect your information, stick with trusted, well-known retailers. If you are shopping on smaller sites, make sure they use reputable payment processors.
Tip #5: Beware Of Phishing And Spam
If not carefully avoided, phishing and spam attempts can expose your computer to dangerous viruses and spyware that can capture your personal information. Do not open files, click on links, or download programs you receive from unknown email addresses. To be extra safe, do not open emails from friends that only contain links - these are often viruses as well. You must also beware of phishing schemes in which you think you are signing into your online bank account, but it's actually a false webpage designed to steal your personal information. To be sure you are logging into a secure portal, always go directly to your bank's website.
Tip #6: Use Anti-Virus Software
Anti-virus and anti-spyware software is your computer's best defense against hidden dangers. Make sure all of your computers are equipped with current software, and set your preferences to update these protections often. If you operate on a wireless network at home or at work, make sure that your it is secured.
Your identity and your personal information is your most valuable asset. Use extra caution and lots of common sense when doing anything online that could expose your private information to nefarious sources. If you have any questions about online banking at the Lake of the Ozarks or other financial security, don't hesitate to reach out to First Bank of the Lake. We would be happy to help in any way we can.
First Bank of the Lake - Striving For Excellence
Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.
Located at the entrance to the Osage Beach Premium Outlets!
4558 Osage Beach Parkway
Osage Beach, MO 65065