For most of us, the Internet has become an integral part of our daily lives. Email, social networking, instant messaging, online banking – we connect with corporations, institutions and each other electronically, instantly, often without giving a thought to protecting our privacy and personal information. American Enterprise Bank’s BankNet is our alternative electronic channel to manage your bank accounts and perform banking transactions over the Internet, 24/7. With BankNet you can check account balances, transfer funds, view your transaction history and pay your bills from any computer with access to the Internet.
We are committed to maintaining your privacy and security and we regularly evaluate and update security technologies and maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards that meet and exceed federal standards. Yet, due to the open nature of the Internet, all web-based services are inherently subject to cybercrime risks and we cannot guarantee the complete security of your transactions against any attacks. Consumers have responsibilities, too, in making sure that their private and personal use of the Internet is as secure as possible. Here are important tips for safeguarding your information against cyber thieves.
Computer Security Tips
- Keep your computer operating systems up-to-date. The operating systems on older computers may not offer the same level of protection as newer systems. Most manufacturers provide important security updates automatically or via email notification.
- Check your operating system’s website to make sure your software is current.
- Always use a current web browser. Older browsers may not be able to protect transactions on Internet banking.
- Install a personal firewall. Though many office networks include firewall protection, many home computers do not have the necessary security to protect you. Check with your operating system to see if a firewall is already included before purchasing a separate one.
- Install and update antivirus software. Protect your computer by reducing the risk of contracting computer viruses that can compromise your security.
- Activate a pop-up blocker. Protect your computer against fake e-mail sites with a pop-up blocker, many of which are free via online download, but make sure the program is from a legitimate company. (Note that when you have a pop-up blocker activated, you may need to turn off the blocker to view some information that only appears on pop-up windows.)
- Scan your computer for spyware. Spyware and adware programs that look in on your Web activity can potentially relay information to disreputable sources.
- Search the Internet for free spyware or adware removal programs and, again, make sure the program you choose is from a legitimate company.
- Disconnect from the Internet when not in use. DSL and high-speed cable provide a constant connection between your computer and the Internet. Disconnect from the Internet to avoid unwanted access to the information on your computer.
Email Safety Tips
One of the fastest growing forms of cybercrime is “phishing,” the act of sending a fraudulent email disguised as coming from an established, legitimate enterprise in an attempt to scam the user into surrendering private information that will be used for identity theft. Such emails usually direct the user to a website that asks for updated personal information (such as passwords and credit card, social security or bank account numbers) that the legitimate organization already has. The purpose, of course, is to steal the user’s information. It’s important to understand that legitimate businesses will never ask for such information via email. Keep that in mind and use these tips to help you recognize email phishing attempts and protect yourself against them.
Fake e-mails often:
- Contain a generic greeting, may claim that your information has been compromised, and request that you verify your account by sending information through a provided email address
- Appear to be from a legitimate source, but the name or address in the “from” field can be easily duplicated or altered
- Contain fake job offers, often for work-at-home positions, and are schemes to victimize both the applicant and the customers
- Contain prize or gift certificate offers in exchange for completing a survey in which you must provide personal information
- Contain phone numbers that connect you with fraudulent call centers posing as legitimate enterprises
- Contain real phone numbers to make the e-mail appear legitimate
- Link to counterfeit websites that are designed to look real but actually collect personal information for illegal uses
- Link to real websites to make the e-mail appear legitimate
If you believe you are the victim of identity theft, contact us IMMEDIATELY and notify the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.
For more information contact your local AEB branch, or click here to contact us via email.