Top 10 Security Dos and Don'ts
Watch Out for Fraudulent E-mails
The emails and texts you receive may look official, but they could be fake. Never click on a link or attachment or respond to an email or text with personal information — credit card numbers, social security numbers, or other banking details. Instead, contact the company directly or visit online by typing the company Web address into your Internet browser. Partners 1st will never ask you to share your user ID or online banking password via email or text.
If you suspect that you’ve received a fraudulent email that appears to be from Partners 1st, forward the message to Partners 1st at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you responded to a fraudulent text or email or disclosed personal information, immediately go to another (ideally) computer/device and change your password. Then contact Partners 1st Contact Center at 1-800-728-8943.
Choose Passwords Carefully
Create passwords that are easy to remember, but difficult for others to guess, and change them every few months. The best passwords are a minimum of eight characters, contain a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols, and use words that are not common. Never use the same password for banking as you do for other non-financial sites, such as social media or email. Be cautious about choosing security questions with answers that you know can be found easily on public websites or guessed.
Be Careful What You Share Online
Personal information shared on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be used by criminals to commit fraud. Never post key information, such as where you bank, how you invest your money, physical addresses, emails, cell phone numbers, account numbers, or passwords.
Guard Your Mobile Device
Your mobile phone contains valuable personal information. Secure it with a password and be sure to wipe it clean before trading it in. Only install apps from well-known stores like Google Play, Apple App Store, Windows Store, and Amazon. Be careful of scanning QR codes, as they may direct you to a fraudulent site. Set up and use remote find, lock, and erase functions like “Find my iPhone” or “Android Device Manager.”
Avoid Banking from Public Wi-Fi Hotspots
The Wi-Fi available at many public locations may not be secure. Be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.
Secure Your Computer
PCs, laptops, smart phones, tablets, and other web- enabled devices need the most current security software, Web browser, and operating system. Also, Microsoft, Apple, and other tech support companies will never call you to “fix” your computer. If you receive a call like this, report it to the Federal Trade Commission, www.ftc.gov or 1-888-382-1222. Consider using a dedicated computer for banking versus other day-to-day functions to lessen the chance of a computer infection leading to theft. When traveling, keep your computer/ devices under your control at all times. Do not leave equipment in the trunk of your car or unattended in public areas.
Extra Tips: How to Spot a Scam
Scams can come via email, text or phone. Visit http://www.ic3.gov/ or http://www.ftc.gov/ to report scams and be alert to these clues:
Does the offer seem too good to be true? Be suspicious of large cash prize winnings or offers of a large inheritance that involves money transfers. Brand new luxury vehicles cannot be purchased for $15,000 under invoice cost.
Do you know the requester? Email and texts that appear to come from someone you know, such as your grandchild or boss, can be forged. Talk to your friends, family, and co-workers to confirm before sending money in response. Also, do business only via websites you know and trust.
Does the requester ask for personal information in exchange for money? No legitimate social media promotion or job opportunity requires people to hand over their bank cards, PIN numbers, or online banking credentials. If you provide this information for the promise of free money, you may be responsible for anything that happens, which can be much larger than the balance in your account. If someone calls you and you suspect a scam, don’t give out any information. Ask for a call-back number. If the caller won’t leave one, tell them you are busy and will need to call them back.
Does the the requester create a sense of urgency? Many scams try to scare you into doing something quickly by threatening negative consequences, such as missed business deals or lost job opportunities.
Does the offer appeal to your emotions? Fraudsters often blend in themes, such as tragic media events, online dating, endangered loved ones, and charities or pose as a pastor. They know that when your emotional state rises, often your attention to security goes down.
Some charities focus on temporary shelter and some concentrate on providing food and water; others specialize in simply raising money for other charities. The Oklahoma Attorney General's Office is now warning of renewed charity scams following the tornado so before giving money to help with the recent tornado disaster relief, it would be wise to verify the type of help the charity is providing to ensure the charity is legitimate.
The same increase in fraudulent charities happened within days of the Boston marathon bombings. More than 100 new websites were registered as charities and many were scams. After the grade school shootings in Newton, Connecticut, someone even set up a fake "Funeral Fund" page on Facebook.
To locate a trusted charity, an individual could use an independent charity evaluator such as "Charity Navigator" as a starting point to learn how a particular charity's donations are spent. Charity Navigator shows how much of a donation is applied to the charity program as well as the amount applied to administration and marketing. The Charity Navigator website currently lists more than a dozen trusted charities taking donations for Oklahoma tornado relief, including the American Red Cross.
Keep in mind that donations to certain national charities such as the Red Cross are directed to overall disaster relief wherever assistance is most needed unless a particular disaster is specified. The Red Cross states if donations received have exceeded the amount needed for a specific disaster, the additional donations received and designated for that disaster may be used for other relief efforts. One method of donating to the Red Cross to ensure the donation stays local is to donate to a specific Red Cross Chapter; local donations such as these will be applied in that locale.
Check out these resources for how to protect yourself from fraud: