Reminders about simple things bank customers can do to help protect their account information and their money from criminals....
- Have computer security programs running and regularly updated to look for the latest threats. Install anti-virus software to protect against malware (malicious software) that can steal information such as account numbers and passwords, and use a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your computer.
- Be smart about where and how you connect to the Internet for banking or other communications involving sensitive personal information. Public Wi-Fi networks and computers at places such as libraries or hotel business centers can be risky if they don’t have up-to-date security software.
- Get to know standard Internet safety features. For example, when banking or shopping online, look for a padlock symbol on a page (that means it is secure) and “https://” at the beginning of the Web address (signifying that the website is authentic and encrypts data during transmission).
- Ignore unsolicited emails asking you to open an attachment or click on a link if you’re not sure it’s who truly sent it and why. Cybercriminals are good at creating fake emails that look legitimate, but can install malware. Your best bet is to either ignore unsolicited requests to open attachments or files or to independently verify that the supposed source actually sent the email to you by making contact using a published email address or telephone number.
- Be suspicious if someone contacts you unexpectedly online and asks for your personal information. A safe strategy is to ignore unsolicited requests for information, no matter how legitimate they appear, especially if they ask for information such as a Social Security number, bank account numbers and passwords.
- Use the most secure process you can when logging into financial accounts. Create “strong” passwords that are hard to guess, change them regularly, and try not to use the same passwords or PINs (personal identification numbers) for several accounts.
- Be discreet when using social networking sites. Criminals comb those sites looking for information such as someone’s place of birth, mother’s maiden name or a pet’s name, in case those details can help them guess or reset passwords for online accounts.
- Be careful when using smartphones and tablets. Don’t leave your mobile device unattended and use a device password or other method to control access if it’s stolen or lost.
- Parents and caregivers should include children in their cybersecurity planning. Talk with your child about being safe online, including the risks of sharing personal information with people they don’t know, and make sure the devices they use to connect to the Internet have up-to-date security.
- Small business owners should have policies and training for their employees on topics similar to those provided in this checklist for customers, plus other issues that are specific to the business. For example, consider requiring more information beyond a password to gain access to your business’s network, and additional safety measures, such as requiring confirmation calls with your financial institution before certain electronic transfers are authorized.
ATMs are a convenient and easy way to get cash. Each time you use an ATM, keep the following safety tips in mind.
Common Sense Is a Great Defense
Common sense is your best guide when using ATMs. Trust your instincts and use ATMs only where you feel safe and comfortable.
Lights, Camera, Cash
If you need to visit an ATM after dark, bring a friend whenever possible and always choose ATMs with adequate lighting. For added security, use ATM locations where you know the activity is recorded by a surveillance camera or inside a store where other people are present.
Don't Flash Your Cash
Stand squarely in front of any ATM to help protect the privacy of your transaction.
Have your ATM/debit card ready before going to any ATM to avoid opening your wallet or purse in public. After a withdrawal, be sure to put your cash, receipt and debit card away quickly before leaving the ATM.
If you are making a deposit, prepare your check or cash deposit in advance of your trip. Endorse your checks and have any cash ready before you visit the ATM. If the ATM requires a deposit slip or envelope, complete the deposit slip and envelope ahead of time if you can, or retrieve the envelope at the ATM, then step away from the ATM to a safe location to finish preparing your deposit.
Guard Your Card and Your PIN
Your debit card cannot be used without your PIN to make an ATM transaction or purchase that requires a PIN, so keep your number safe and secret. Memorize your PIN and never write it on your card or leave it in your wallet. When you use an ATM, stand between the machine and the person behind you so no one can see you enter your PIN.
If your ATM transaction does not appear to be processing correctly or you feel the ATM is not working normally, never permit a stranger to help you: Refuse anyone’s request to re-enter your PIN. Go to another ATM or ask for help only from branch office staff.
If you suspect someone is looking over your shoulder or are uncomfortable for any reason, cancel the transaction request and leave immediately. If your ATM card is lost or stolen, or if any suspicious or unauthorized ATM transactions appear on your account statement, notify Alliance Bank Central Texas as soon as possible.
If the ATM “doesn’t seem right” in any way, cancel the transaction and notify your Alliance Bank Central Texas of your concern.
Be Safe in Every Place
Whether you use an ATM in an enclosed vestibule, on the street, inside a store, hotel or office building or at a drive-up ATM, always be aware of your surroundings. When you are in a vestibule, close the entry door completely upon entering and exiting, and do not offer entry to strangers. At the drive-up, keep your engine running, lock all your doors and open only the driver's window. If you are walking to an ATM, stay alert and do not linger at the machine.
If you are concerned about safety at a particular ATM, notify the financial institution that owns the machine, the manager of the retail location or office building personnel where the ATM is deployed.
Be sure to contact Alliance Bank Central Texas as soon as you can if:
- The ATM card reader appears to have been altered or looks “different”
- The magnetic stripe or chip on your ATM card cannot be read by the ATM
- Your ATM/debit card is lost or stolen
- An ATM kept your card
- You want to change your PIN
- You have forgotten your PIN
- Your transaction is denied and you believe it should have been approved
- You wonder about a fee you were charged for a transaction
- You do not recognize a transaction on your on-line banking site or your account statement