Ways to Stay Safe Online

Strong passwords make strong accounts

Here are five tips to make it more difficult for hackers to gain access to your important personal and financial information.

  1. Create long and strong passwords. Use at least 12 characters, and consider mixing uppercase and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols. One method to create a strong password is to think of a phrase (the more random, the better) and convert it into a password. For instance, “Pluto is not a planet” could become pLuT01zN0t@p1@n3T. Another method is to string random or gibberish words together.

  2. Use different passwords for each of your accounts. Using the same or similar passwords for multiple accounts could make them all vulnerable if a hacker obtains the password for even one.

  3. Consider a password manager. If you have trouble keeping track of all your passwords, a reputable password manager may help you create complex passwords without needing to remember them all. To find a reputable password manager, the FTC recommends that you search independent review sites and talk to friends and family for recommendations.

  4. If multi-factor authentication is available, use it. Multi-factor authentication offers extra security by requiring something in addition to a password to log in to your account. This is usually a passcode you receive via an authentication app or a text message. It could also be your fingerprint, eye, or face scan.

  5. Choose security questions that can’t be answered by someone else. You don’t want security questions with answers that can easily be found online or through public records. Avoid questions like your zip code, birthplace, or your mother’s maiden name.

Additional ways to protect your information

Use antivirus software
Install security software on all computers and mobile devices to protect your personal data against viruses and malware.

Avoid online fraud
The instances of online fraud only seem to grow every year. However, that doesn’t mean you need to swear off the internet forever. In fact, surfing the web can be safe and worry-free as long as you’re careful; you just need to know how to spot a scam. To keep your identity and money secure, here’s a quick guide to identifying—and avoiding—online fraud.

Set alerts for unusual account activity

An unexpected, large amount of money withdrawn from your account could be a red flag for fraudulent activity. In Digital Banking, go to Alert Settings – Account Alerts, and set Withdrawal Alerts and Debit Card Alerts so you’ll know if something unexpected happens.

Keep an eye on your credit reports

Federal law requires each of the three nationwide consumer credit reporting agencies to give you a free credit report every 12 months if you ask for it. Go to annualcreditreport.com to request yours. Look for inaccuracies and evidence of someone illegally using your identity.

Don’t put off system and software updates

Cybercriminals love software vulnerabilities because they can exploit them.

When these security gaps are discovered by legitimate developers, programming to repair the vulnerability is created and distributed to users via updates.

Stay alert and download these updates as soon as they are available. This ensures that your device is as secure as possible.

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