Guarding your personal information is an ongoing battle that requires your utmost attention. Identity theft thieves are looking for any possible way in which to convince you into divulging your personal information for their own financial gain. As a result, identity theft has become a worldwide epidemic. In most cases the victim of identity theft is not even aware there is a problem until they receive a telephone call from a creditor or collection agency.
In an effort to stem this epidemic, please take a moment to review these tips:
- Never provide personal information, including your Social Security number, account numbers or passwords over the phone or the Internet, if you did not initiate the contact.
- Never click on the link provided in an email you think is fraudulent. In addition to stealing your personal information, the link may contain a virus that can contaminate your computer.
- Do not be intimidated by an email or caller who suggests dire consequences if you do not immediately provide or verify financial information.
- If you are unsure whether a contact is legitimate, go to the company’s Website by typing in the site address or using a page you have previously book marked, instead of using a link provided by the email.
- If you fall victim to identity theft, act immediately to protect yourself. Alert your financial institution. Place fraud alerts on your credit files. Monitor your credit files and account statements closely.
- Report suspicious emails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission through the Internet at https://www.identitytheft.gov, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).
- Keep your mailbox locked. If that is not possible, empty it as soon as possible after mail delivery.
- Don’t leave letters for pick up inside your mailbox. Put them in a secure U.S. Postal Service box or take them to the Post Office.
- Check your credit report at the three national credit bureaus at least annually and look for unauthorized activity.
- Rather than throwing away documents that may contain confidential information, buy a paper shredder and safely destroy your personal information, unwanted credit applications, etc.
- Don’t leave behind receipts that have credit or debit card numbers at ATMs, stores, restaurants, gas stations, etc.
- Don’t input debit or credit card information on a website unless you know it is secure.
- Update your anti-virus and anti-malware programs frequently.
- Update your computer software regularly to protect against new security vulnerabilities (patch management)
- When shopping or entering sensitive information online, use secure websites. Look for secure transaction signs such as “https://” and a closed lock icon in the web address bar.
- Be careful where and how you connect to the internet. Only access your personal information online through a known and secure connection. Public computers and free Wi-Fi networks are not necessarily secure.
- Check your security settings on social network sites and make sure to block out people who you don’t want to see your information.
- Visit https://www.onguardonline.gov for additional tips on how to guard your personal information.
Bank of Napa commercial customers should consider the tips listed above, along with the following if your company utilizes the Bank’s Business Online Banking Solution:
- Communicate to your employees that passwords should be strong and should not be stored on the device used to access the company’s Business Online banking.
- Users should adhere to dual control procedures for all ACH entries and wire transfer requests originated via Business Online Banking.
- Users should utilize separate devices when originating and approving ACH entries or wire transfer requests.
- Ongoing account monitoring and reconciliation should be the company’s standard practice, especially near the end of day.
- Adopt advanced security measures by working with consultants or dedicated IT staff.
- Utilize resources provided by trade organizations and agencies specializing in helping businesses.
- Create separate user accounts for each employee for network and online banking access. Do not allow employees to share the same user account information.