Take these tips into consideration to prevent fraudulent activity.
Safeguard your email
Email is often a vehicle used to transmit malware and commit fraud. It is important to evaluate your email behaviors and develop good habits to help protect your computer and your identity.
In addition to viruses and worms that can be transmitted via email, phishing also threatens email users. Phishing emails involve perpetrators posing as legitimate, trustworthy businesses in an attempt to acquire sensitive information like passwords or financial information.
Never open or respond to SPAM (unsolicited bulk email messages).
Delete all spam without opening it. Responding to spam only confirms your email address to the spammer, which can actually intensify the problem.
Never click on links within an email.
It's safer to retype the website address rather than click on it from within the body of an email.
Don't open attachments from strangers.
If you do not know the sender or are not expecting the attachment, delete it.
Don't open attachments with odd filename extensions.
Most computer files use filename extensions such as ".doc" for documents or ".jpg" for images. If a file has a double extension, like "heythere.doc.pif," it is highly likely that it is a dangerous file and should not be opened. In addition, never open email attachments that have file endings of .exe, .pif, or .vbs. These are filename extensions for executable files that run a program when opened. These types of files could be dangerous if you don't know what's in them.
Never give out your email address or other sensitive or personal information to unknown websites.
If you don't know the reputation of a website, don't assume you can trust it. Many websites sell email addresses or may be careless with your personal information. Be wary of providing any information that can be used by others for fraudulent purposes.
Never provide sensitive information in email.
Forged email purporting to be from your financial institution or favorite online store is a popular trick used by criminals to extract personal information for fraud. Keep in mind that BankFive will never ask for your account information, or sensitive personal information, via email. And any time you need to communicate with the bank about sensitive account or personal information, be sure to send a secure email from within your Online Banking account, rather than sending the message from your regular email account to a @bankfive.com email address.
Don't believe the hype.
Many fraudulent emails send out urgent messages that claim your account will be closed if sensitive information isn't immediately provided, or that important information needs to be updated online. BankFive will never use this method to alert you of an account problem.
Be aware of poor design, and/or bad grammar and spelling.
Tell-tale signs of a fraudulent email or website include typos and grammar errors as well as unprofessional design layout and quality. If you receive an email with this type of unprofessional content, delete it immediately.
Safeguard your identity online
In addition to protecting your email, there are a number of guidelines to follow that can help safeguard your identity online.
Do not allow a website to keep sensitive information or credentials for future convenience.
It is a common practice when registering for access to a website or making a purchase from a website to be asked if you want to keep your login credentials, credit card numbers or other sensitive information on file as a matter of convenience. This common request is referred to as "remembering" for future use. Although it may seem convenient, it's never a good idea to allow a website to store your sensitive information. In the event that the website is compromised, your information could fall into the wrong hands.
Be selective about where you surf.
Not all websites are safe. Sites that engage in illegal or questionable activities often host damaging software and can make users susceptible to aggressive computer attacks.
Don't use public computers for sensitive operations.
Since you cannot validate the computer's integrity, there's a higher risk of fraud when you log in from a public computer.
Work on a computer you trust.
Firewalls, and anti-virus and anti-spyware programs help keep your device properly monitored and provide peace of mind. These tools are important in order to protect your device and the data on it. A good firewall is critical if you commonly access the Internet via a wireless connection. It is also important to keep your device's browser, operating system, and security software up-to-date.
Select a strong password.
The best password is an undetectable one. Never use birthdays, names, pet names, addresses, phone numbers, or Social Security numbers as passwords. It's good practice to use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols, and be sure to change your passwords regularly.
Only enter sensitive information on secure webpages.
Be sure to use secure webpages any time you're conducting transactions online or entering sensitive personal information. You'll know if a webpage is secure if it has "https" preceding its address, or if there's an icon of a padlock or key in the left-hand corner of your browser's address bar.
Sign off, shut down, disconnect.
Always sign off or logout of your online banking session or any other website that you've logged into using a user ID and password. When your device is not in use, it should be shut down or disconnected from the Internet.
Lock your computer or mobile device when it is not in use.
Locking your device when you're not using it helps protect from unauthorized access.
Beware of shoulder surfing.
This is a common tactic that happens in public places such as coffee shops, airports, libraries, etc. where an attacker will look over your shoulder when you're logging in or entering a credit card number to obtain your sensitive information. Be vigilant and aware of prying eyes.