Computer Security & Protection

Safeguarding your personal information is very important. Securing personal computers plays a crucial role in protecting your information and can help keep you from becoming a victim of fraud or identity theft.

Tips for Securing/Protecting Your Computer

  • Update your virus protection software regularly. Keep your computer up-to-date by installing protective patches, updates and security repairs - download automatic updates from your operating system's web site.
  • Consider using spyware detection and elimination programs.
  • Use a password to logon to your PC.
  • Never leave your computer unattended while using any online banking or investing service.
  • Never download unknown programs or software directly from the Internet.
  • Never download files from strangers or click on hyperlinks from people you don't know.
  • Do not access your credit union, brokerage or other financial services information at Internet cafes, public libraries, etc. Unauthorized software may be installed to obtain your account information, leaving you vulnerable for fraud.
  • The best way to deal with Spam (unsolicited e-mail) is to delete it. Use ISP provided Spam filters and consider a "high security" setting.
  • Use a firewall if you have a high-speed or "always on" connection to the Internet. The firewall allows you to limit uninvited access to your computer.
  • Use a secure browser - software that encrypts or scrambles information you send over the Internet - to guard the safety of your online transactions. To verify that your session is secure, look for https: instead of http: in the URL address line. When submitting information, look for the "lock" icon on the status bar. The symbol indicates that your information is secure during transmission.
  • Delete any personal information stored on your computer before you dispose of it.

Protect your Password and Access Credentials

  • Use both numbers and letters in your password.
  • Change your passwords frequently for greater protection.
  • Create passwords you can remember, but don't use obvious choices such as your name, or date of birth.
  • Never write down passwords.
  • Never share your password with someone else.
  • Be cautious if you store financial information on your laptop. If you do, make sure your password is a combination of letters (upper and lower case), numbers and symbols.
  • Avoid using an automatic login feature that saves your username and password, and always log off when you're finished. If your laptop gets stolen, this will make it more difficult to access your information.
  • Do not respond to e-mails alleging to be from your credit union, a government office or other entity that requests your online or ATM banking access credentials such as your user IDs, passwords, PINs, etc.
  • Use a "wipe" utility program, which overwrites the entire hard drive and makes the files virtually unrecoverable before disposing of your PC.
  • When on the Internet, read Web site privacy policies carefully. They should answer questions about the access to and accuracy, security and control of personal information the site collects, as well as how sensitive information will be used and whether it will be provided to third parties.
  • The use of remote access software is discouraged due to certain security vulnerabilities. If you do use software programs like "PC Anywhere" or "Timbuktu," carefully read the instructions and make sure to set it up properly to specify specific guest privileges and minimize unintended access or exposure.
  • Make sure to set up your Wireless equipment correctly. Read the instructions and follow the manufacturers recommended security implementation.

All of the suggestions, tips and guidance provided in the above sections are for informational purposes only. They are general guidelines provided to assist fraud victims in understanding some of the steps they may take to help protect their personal and financial interests. The suggestions are not all-inclusive and should not be considered nor interpreted as legal, accounting, financial or technical advice. You may wish to consult your attorney, accountant or other advisor for specific advice, guidance or recommendations concerning this topic.

It's easy to make fraud and identity theft prevention part of your everyday life. Here are some ways to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

eMail and Website Fraud
Email has become an appealing way for criminals to obtain personal information about you. Fraudulent emails may ask for you to go to a phony Web site and give personal information about yourself. Learn what to look for and how to avoid being tricked by a fraudulent email or Web site.

Fraud and Identity Theft Scams
Criminals constantly try to think of new ways to fool consumers into revealing personal information. Stay informed of the latest scams so that you don't become the next victim.

Minimizing the Risk of Fraud
Many people each year are victims of fraud. We have some tips to help minimize the risk of it happening to you.

What should I do if I become a victim of fraud?
In the unfortunate event you should become a victim of fraud, learn about the immediate steps you should take to protect your personal and financial interests.

Reporting Fraud and Identity Theft
If your name, account number or any form of personal identification is used in a fraudulent scheme or transaction, find out whom you should contact.