A Secure Online Banking Experience
Anyone who spends time online and is aware of the issues and environment of the internet has heard of the potential dangers lurking behind every click of the mouse. The news contains daily reports of clever ways in which your information can be lifted without your knowledge and used for fraudulent purposes. However, although new threats appear alarmingly often, it is possible to minimize your risk and conduct your business online with a level of security and peace of mind that you can feel comfortable with.
What We Do
Tower Community Bank has always meticulously and professionally guarded our customer’s private information with the latest firewalls and encryption tools available to the financial industry. Our Internet Banking is secure as evidenced by the use of SSL (Secure Socket Layer) protocol for transferring data. SSL is encryption that creates a secure environment for the information being transferred between your browser and Tower Community Bank. You will see https and a padlock in your address bar when accessing our site. You can always feel confident that your information will continue to be guarded against the latest threats with cutting-edge technology as it becomes available.
What You Can Do
Any chain of security devices and mechanisms is only as strong as its most vulnerable point. Unfortunately, too many times this has been proven to be lax attentiveness on the part of the customer. Only by working together can the bank and the customer mount the best front possible against potential invaders. Click on our CUSTOMER EDUCATION link for more information.
Here are some threats facing online users and what can be done to combat them:
New risks are identified daily in the form of spyware, trojans, and viruses. A virus can disrupt the operation of your computer and cause you to lose valuable information you may have stored in graphs, charts, and financial software. A trojan can sometimes arrive inside wanted software but produce unwanted results such as transmitting credit card and password information. Malware or spyware, which can invade by simply surfing the internet, can record your online purchasing history, log keystrokes to learn passwords, track your payment information, and cause your computer along with all your information to crash. A good anti-virus software with a subscription that can be updated regularly can be an effective tool to keep your computer, and most importantly your personal information, safe. A better approach is to utilize different programs that aggressively address each threat individually since sometimes the all-inclusive software may overlook something that was well hidden. A recent study found that more than half (56%) of home personal computers had no virus protection at all or had not updated it lately. The same study found that three-quarters (74%) of the people surveyed use their computer for sensitive transactions such as online banking, trading stocks, shopping, and accessing personal medical information. That’s a volatile combination asking for disaster to strike. Far too many people think they are protected when actually they are terribly vulnerable. Take necessary precautions!
A firewall can keep unwanted intruders and traffic from reaching your computer. It can be a box connected between your online connection and your computer, but usually the best solution for the home user is a virtual firewall composed of software. Most operating systems include a firewall or they can be protected by purchasing firewall software available from most of the anti-virus developers.
Updates and Patches – VERY IMPORTANT!
You can keep your computer running efficiently and securely by regularly installing updates and patches available from the operating system and software vendors. Such updates are often developed in response to newly identified security holes and system vulnerabilities, and can be set up to search for and install automatically on a regular schedule.
Using Trusted Sites
When transacting business online, always look for the closed padlock on the site signifying that transmitted information is SSL (Secure Socket Layer) secured.
Be Alert For Email Fraud – DON’T FALL VICTIM!
The most common threat today arriving by Email is Phishing, and is successfully being used more and more by thieves because it is so easy, relying on the unthinking complacency of the recipient. Phishing attacks now affect nearly 1 in 4 (23%) Americans each month. Typically an Email is received asking for verification of contact and financial information to “update” the senders (usually a bank or online vendor) records, and if not done, the account will be suspended. The only records that are updated are those of thieves standing by to exploit this information as quickly as possible before detection. Your bank and anyone else you have a business relationship with will never send out requests for private information to be supplied through insecure channels. Anyone receiving such Email should automatically assume it to be fraudulent, although all wording, format and logos appear to be genuine. This type of deception is easily done. Do not respond. If in doubt, contact the alleged sender.
If you don’t recognize the Email’s sender, the best policy is to not open it regardless of how enticing the subject line is! Once the message is opened, it may be too late – any virus or worm it may contain may be delivered to your computer. Many Email programs can be configured to deliver mail only from trusted addresses, and send the rest to trash or a specified folder. Also, be sure that you disable the feature that automatically opens the highlighted message in the Inbox.
Be Alert To Identity Theft
Unfortunately, despite every effort you make to thwart the theft of your private information, the increasing intelligence and technological sophistication of thieves results in the loss of some data that can be used to create another identity for you for fraudulent purposes. Keeping a diligent eye on your financial records can many times alert you to a problem before a great deal of damage can be done. Always open your bank statement promptly and verify each item, or better still, check your accounts online daily and be on the lookout for unauthorized activity. If in doubt, call the institution for an explanation of a suspect transaction. Regularly inspect your Credit Report for unauthorized accounts that may have been opened using your information. Free credit reports are now available to everyone from all three major credit bureaus once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com, and requesting one from a different bureau every four months is an excellent way to monitor all activity that is so crucial to protecting your good name.
Use Common Sense
Most often the best defense against attacks on your computer and your personal information is the same tool that has served you well in so many other areas of life – good old common sense.
- Don’t share passwords or login IDs with anyone – regardless of who is signing in with your information, Internet Banking will assume it is you.
- Choose your passwords wisely and don’t use guessable passwords such as your birthday, pets, hobbies, or anything else obvious about you.
- Periodically change your passwords.
- If you find that you must write down your password and login information, keep the info in a safe, secure location.
- Avoid using public computers to access your account information – security is virtually impossible to guarantee in such an unsecured situation.
- Avoid downloading anything that seems too good to be true, suspecting that there is an ulterior motive.
- Make a practice of NEVER giving any personal information to anyone, either by telephone or online, regardless of how innocent it may seem or how confident you feel about the other party. Your messages may be monitored. NEVER do it!
Don’t take chances. Be sure that your computer has all three of the critical protections – updated virus software, spyware protection, and a secure firewall. It just makes sense.
Opportunities For Fraud Aren’t Just On The Internet
Guarding your personal information is an issue that Tower Community Bank does not take lightly, and neither should you. The internet has created an ever changing and challenging environment for fraud to proliferate, but conscious precautions should also be taken at ATMs, in unsolicited telephone conversations, in the retail environment, and anywhere you have a chance to expose your identity to outsiders. Constant diligence will be required if your private financial information is to remain private to only those who require it and are authorized by you to have access to it. At Tower Community Bank we promise to do our part, and have faith that our customers will too.