8 Tips to Protect Your Identity

Identity theft continues to be one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. In 2013, an American fell victim to identity fraud every two seconds. Phenix-Girard Bank recommends following these tips to keep your information – and your money – safe.

1.     Don’t share your secrets.

Don’t provide your Social Security number or account information to anyone who contacts you online or over the phone. Protect your PINs and passwords and do not share them with anyone. Use a combination of letters and numbers for your passwords and change them periodically. Do not reveal sensitive or personal information on social networking sites.

2.     Shred sensitive papers.

Shred receipts, banks statements and unused credit card offers before throwing them away.

3.     Keep an eye out for missing mail.

Fraudsters look for monthly bank or credit card statements or other mail containing your financial information. Consider enrolling in online banking to reduce the likelihood of paper statements being stolen. Also, don’t mail bills from your own mailbox with the flag up.

4.     Use online banking to protect yourself.

Monitor your financial accounts regularly for fraudulent transactions. Sign up for text or email alerts from your bank for certain types of transactions, such as online purchases or transactions of more than $500.

5.     Monitor your credit report.

Order a free copy of your credit report every four months from one of the three credit reporting agencies at annualcreditreport.com.

6.     Protect your computer.

Make sure the virus protection software on your computer is active and up to date. When conducting business online, make sure your browser’s padlock or key icon is active. Also look for an “s” after the “http” to be sure the website is secure.

7.     Protect your mobile device.

Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Before you donate, sell or trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen. Use caution when downloading apps, as they may contain malware and avoid opening links and attachments – especially for senders you don’t know.

8.     Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

Update on the Home Depot Data Breach

Phenix-Girard has received a list of all of our customer's cards that may have been compromised in the recent Home Depot Data Breach.  Phenix-Girard will automatically re-issue any such compromised cards.  During the card re-issue process, your existing card will work until the new one arrives. You will receive  new pin in the mail shortly after you receive your card.  If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at 334-298-0691.

Important Information About the Home Depot Data Breach

Yesterday Home Depot confirmed that the world's largest home improvement retailer’s payment data systems have been breached, which could potentially impact customers using payment cards at its U.S. and Canadian stores.  Home Depot states that they are continuing to investigate the scope of the compromise.        

This breach could impact any customer that used a debit or credit card at any Home Depot store in the United States or Canada, from April, 2014 forward. At this time, Home Depot has not found any indication the PIN information was stolen as part of the breach.

Phenix-Girard is committed to monitoring our customer’s card activity. Currently, a  file for all credit and debit cards that have been used in any Home Depot since April 11 – September 7 is being uploaded to our security monitoring system and we will  be monitoring our customer’s card activity for any unusual activity. We have established procedures in place to help ensure that your accounts are safe.

We have not yet been notified by Mastercard if any Phenix-Girard Bank debit card customers have indeed been compromised; this notification usually takes a couple of days. Should we learn from Mastercard that any card information has indeed been compromised we will be sending a letter to affected customers to notify them of the situation. At that time, we will also take appropriate action to cancel and reissue affected debit card(s). 

You can help protect yourself against fraudulent activity on your account by inspecting your bank statements and transaction history daily to ensure that transactions posted to your account are legitimate.

If you see suspicious activity on your account, please contact us immediately at 334-298-0691

Please be assured that if we receive notice that any of our customers are impacted by this breach, we will take immediate action to protect our customers and their accounts.

 

7 Tips for Protecting Yourself Online

Though the internet has many advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams. According to a Norton Cybercrime Report, 378 million adults worldwide were victims of cybercrime in 2013. Phenix-Girard recommends the following tips to keep you safe online:

1.     Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date.  Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.

2.     Set strong passwords. A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

3.     Watch out for phishing scams. Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with.  

·       Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at spam@uce.gov – and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.

4.     Keep personal information personal. Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc.  Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.

5.     Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.

6.     Shop safely. Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny locked padlock symbol appears on the page.

7.    Read the site’s privacy policies. Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere. 

Russian hackers might have your info — now what?

By clicking on any links in this article you will leave our website and entering a third-party website over which we have no control. Neither Phenix-Girard Bank Company, nor its subsidiaries or affiliates, is responsible for the content of third party sites hyper-linked from this page, nor do they guarantee or endorse the information, recommendations, products or services offered on third party sites. Third party sites may have different Privacy and Security policies than Phenix-Girard Bank. You should review the Privacy and Security policies of any third party website before you provide personal or confidential information.

You may have heard about it in the news: reports that Russian hackers have stolen more than a billion unique username and password combinations, and more than 500 million email addresses, grabbed from thousands of websites. What should you do about it? We asked our resident expert, Maneesha Mithal, director of our Division of Privacy and Identity Protection.

Q. How do you know if your information was part of this hack?

A. You really don’t, so don’t take any chances. Change the passwords you use for sensitive sites like your bank and email account — really any site that has important financial or health information. Make sure each password is different so someone who knows one of your passwords won’t suddenly have access to all your important accounts. We have some tipsfor creating strong passwords — strong, as in hard to guess.

Some online services also offer “two-factor authentication.” To get into your account, you need a password plus something else, like a code sent to your smartphone, to prove it’s you. We recommend that people use this service when it’s available. 

If you think your email account might already have been affected by a hack, here’s what you can do.

Q. Is creating new passwords enough?

A. Once you have strong passwords, you need to keep them safe. Think twice when you’re asked to enter usernames and passwords, and never provide them in response to an email. For example, if you get an email or text that seems to be from your bank, visit the bank website directly rather than clicking on any links — which could contain malware — or calling any numbers in the message. Scammers impersonate well-known businesses or the government to trick you into handing over your information.

Q. Is there anything else you can do?

A. It’s unlikely this will be the last time you’re affected by a hack or data breach. One way to increase the chance you’ll catch someone trying to misuse your information is to review your credit card and bank account statements regularly. If you see charges that you don’t recognize, contact your bank or credit card provider right away and speak to the fraud department.                                                         

You also can check your credit reports for free every few months at AnnualCreditReport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. Your credit report includes information about your credit card accounts and other bills you pay, so it’s a good way to find out if someone has opened credit in your name. You’re entitled to a free report every 12 months from each of the three credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. If it turns out you are a victim of identity theft, you can find the steps you should take to deal with it at ftc.gov/idtheft.

Last but not least, send this post to your family and friends to make sure they know what to do, too.

Q. How can someone make sure this doesn’t happen to them again?

A. Unfortunately, you can’t. But by taking these steps, you can lessen the odds scammers will get a hold of your information, and also minimize the consequences if they do.

August 8, 2014
by
Amy Hebert
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC

http://www.onguardonline.gov/blog/russian-hackers-might-have-your-info-now-what?utm_source=govdelivery