Phishing. Ransonware. Spyware. Password theft. Wire fraud. When it comes to your personal financial information, security threats are everywhere. If you run a business, the risks are even greater. What to do?
"Think in terms of layers," says Kathy Allam, Vice President, Director of Information Technology and Security for Taylor Bank. “The reality is no one can ever be 100% protected. But by adding as many security layers as possible, you can keep your data much safer.” She says we all need to adopt a highly skeptical, defensive mindset. “You simply can’t trust who’s on the other side of any conversation,” says Allam. It’s all about staying vigilant and creating those layers — in your own behavior, and in the technical tools you can deploy.
Five things to never do
- NEVER click on pop-up windows or email attachments from unknown sources. If an email looks suspicious — even if you know the name of the supposed sender — assume the worst and delete it immediately.
- NEVER share your personal information, account numbers, or passwords with unknown parties by phone or email. No reputable company or person would ever ask for those things.
- NEVER use passwords that relate to your personal life and might be easily guessed. Consider using a password management tool that generates secure passwords for you automatically.
- NEVER use your debit card online to make purchases at sites that aren’t reputable and well-known, or when connected to public Wi-Fi.
- NEVER wire money to someone you don’t know personally, and be especially wary of social media and dating site contacts. These types of sites are rife with imposters and scammers.
Five things to always do
- ALWAYS back up your information, ideally in a separate location. If you are hit with a ransomware attack, this can help reduce the stress and potential data loss.
- ALWAYS keep an eye on your financial accounts and credit reports. Review your statements and transactions on a regular basis, and report any suspicious items right away.
- ALWAYS keep your devices current with the latest software and security updates. Use antivirus software and update that frequently too.
- ALWAYS check caller ID before you answer the phone. But keep in mind, numbers that appear familiar may actually be “spoofs,” so proceed with caution. If a number comes up as “private” or “unknown,” just don’t answer.
- ALWAYS dispose of your financial documents in a way — such as shredding or burning — that makes your personal information unreadable. Don’t just toss them in the trash.
It’s a dangerous world out there, and there are many additional steps you might consider. The simple reality is this: the more protective layers you employ, the safer your data will be. And the less likely you are to be victimized by hackers and scammers across the globe who are always thinking of new ways to cause chaos in your life.
Visit our Security Center to learn more about Identity Theft, Phishing, Card Monitoring Services, and the steps you can take to protect yourself and/or your business against these and other security threats. Stay safe out there.