Protect Yourself on the Web

Tips for Staying Safe Online

It's not always easy to identify online fraud. Understanding how fraudulent activity takes place helps with prevention, and keeps you safe.

The best password is an undetectable one. Never use birth dates, first names, pet names, addresses, phone numbers or Social Security Numbers. Use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Be sure to change your passwords regularly.

Only use secure web pages when you're conducting transactions online (a web page is secure if there is a locked padlock in the lower left-hand corner of your browser).

In addition to protecting your email, there are a number of guidelines to follow that will help safeguard your identity online.

You should never use the "remember password" feature for online banking or transactional websites.

It is a common practice when registering for access to a website or making a purchase from a Web site to be asked if you want to keep your access credentials, credit card number or other sensitive information on file as a matter of convenience. This common request is referred to as "remembering" for the future use.

Not all websites are benign. Sites that are engaged in illegal or questionable activities often host damaging software and make users susceptible to aggressive computer attacks.

Since you cannot validate the computer's integrity, there's a higher risk of fraud when you log in from a public computer.

This is a common tactic that happens in public places such as coffee shops, airports and libraries etc. where an attacker will look over your shoulder when you're logged in to obtain your sensitive information. Be vigilant and aware of prying eyes.

Firewalls, antivirus, anti-spyware and other protection devices help keep a computer properly monitored and provide peace of mind. These tools are important in order to protect your computer and data. A good firewall is critical if you commonly access the Internet via a wireless connection. It is also important to keep your computer up-to-date with patches to security tools as well as to the operating system and other programs on your computer. Make sure to configure your computer to update all security fixes.

This helps protect you from unauthorized user access.

Always sign off or logout from your Internet Banking session or any other website that you've logged into using a user ID and password. When a computer is not in use, it should be shut down or disconnected from the Internet.

The timeout feature is an additional safety check. It can prevent others from continuing your online banking session if you left your PC unattended without logging out. You can set the timeout period in the User Options screen.

Consider backing up all sensitive files. This will not only help you restore damaged or corrupted data, but it will help protect against fraud attacks and help recover lost files if needed.

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