In today’s digital age, online security and privacy control is an important part of day-to-day life. If you’re not careful, thieves and scammers can steal your login credentials, account information, or your identity entirely.
How can you protect yourself?
There is no one solution to completely protect yourself from digital theft, but there are steps you can take to make it harder for someone to steal money, information, or your identity.
- Strong Passwords. One of the best things you can do to protect your information is to use strong, unique passwords for your various online accounts. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts, don’t use words that can be easily guessed, make it 8 characters or more, and use capitalization, punctuation and numbers. You should also change your passwords periodically and make sure your passwords are not visible to other people. For example, if you work in an office, don’t keep a password cheat sheet under your keyboard.
Pro-tip: For easy remembering, choose a word that you would remember and replace some letters with numbers or special characters. For example: MaineCreditUnion becomes m@!n3cRed1tUn!0n. Instead of capitalizing the first, capitalize letters in the middle. Instead of an ‘a’ use the @ symbol, E’s can easily become 3’s, and i’s look like 1’s or !’s. Instead of an ‘o’ use the actual zero number (0). By making those small changes, the password of MaineCreditUnion just became a lot more difficult to guess by making it m@!n3cRed1tUn!0n.
- Computers, Devices & Locations. It’s often tempting to hop on a public wi-fi account so that you don’t use up limited data on your mobile device. It’s important to be very careful when using public or semi-public wireless access points. Whether you are in a coffee shop that gives you a password to use or you find a completely open, unsecured network, your network connection may be being watched. It’s also important to only access your accounts from computers or devices you trust. Never log in to your online banking account from a public computer.
Pro-tip: Never access password-restricted accounts on public computers or while on public wi-fi. If you need to access your account, switch to use data or use your secured home network for a more secure connection.*
- Examine All Links Carefully. Scammers are sneaky and have found ways to appear to be coming from someone you know or receive email from regularly. Some scammers may ‘spoof’ emails, so it looks like an email coming from a service you use like NetFlix or Amazon to either try to get you to enter in your login information or to click links. The emails generally have the company logo on them and appear to come from a relevant email, but they still may be fraudulent.
Pro-tip: Hover over all links before clicking on them to see if they direct you to the site that you think they should. Make sure that the sender email doesn’t have typos or extra words or characters. For example, an email from Amazon will come from an email address @amazon.com – not @amazonsupport.com. If anything seems off or odd, don’t click anything in the email. Visit the site from a separate window or new search.
There is a lot more that can be done to help protect yourself from online scammers and fraudsters. The FTC has a number of resources available for everything from common scams to disposing of old hardware and devices.
If you make a mistake and believe you have fallen for a scam, or if you think your Saco Valley Credit Union account was compromised, contact us immediately at 207-282-6169 and we will be happy to help.
*Standard data plan and text messaging rates apply and vary depending on individual calling plans. Please see carrier for specific rates and terms.