The internet is a great place to find information, go shopping, and stay in touch with friends, but it can also be a dangerous place if you aren’t careful. Below are some tips you can use to help keep your personal information safe when you are online.
Remember: Scient Federal Credit Union will NEVER request sensitive information from you through email. And, if you are ever concerned about the legitimacy of a request, please contact us for verification before providing any personal or account information.
Scient FCU is a full-service credit union with branches in Groton and New Haven Connecticut.
Don’t fall victim to phishing scams
Phishing is when someone tries to obtain confidential information by appearing to be a legitimate business. Avoid phishing scams by keeping the following information in mind:
- Don’t reply to any email, text, or message that asks for personal or financial information. A genuine business would not ask you to send sensitive information through unsecure channels.
- Don’t open emails from someone you don’t know.
- Don’t download unexpected attachments. Opening a file from someone you don’t know could expose you to a computer virus or spyware.
- Don’t click on links in emails that ask for personal information.
Example of a phishing email: “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure your account is not compromised, please click the link below and confirm your identity.”
Prevent identity theft
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your name, address, Social Security Number, credit card or financial account numbers, passwords, or other personal information without your knowledge to commit fraud or other crimes. Every time you are asked for personal information, whether online, through email, or a phone message, take a moment and think about whether you can trust the request. Scammers will do everything they can to make you believe they are trustworthy.
Take action to prevent identity theft by monitoring your credit reports (you’re entitled to a free credit report every 12 months), and keep an eye out for suspicious activity on all financial statements including bank accounts, credit cards, and other lines of credit.
Scammers attempt to fool people into clicking on links or downloading attachments that will download malware and spyware to their computers, especially computers that don’t use current security software. You can help prevent malware by:
- Using antivirus and antispyware software that contains the latest malware definitions
- Not opening email attachments, clicking on links, etc. from unknown sources
- Using a pop-up blocker
IDs and passwords
ID’s and passwords are usually the first line of defense when protecting computers. They can consist of letters, numbers, multiple words or symbols. Use the following guidelines for selecting and storing ID’s and passwords:
- Use a minimum of 10 characters containing a combination of UPPERCASE and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols (#$%&).
- Stay away from obvious information such as birthdays or a nickname.
- Use a different password for each of your online accounts.
- Avoid using the “remember my password” option, even if your computer suggests it.
- Change your passwords often and never reuse them.
- Do not share your passwords, write them down, or post them near your computer.
The majority of computing devices purchased today have wireless capabilities. Further, many public locations have wireless hotspots available for public use. While convenient, these hot spots usually are not secure. Follow these guidelines when using wireless technology:
- Encryption scrambles the information you send over the internet into code so that others can’t access it. If a website has “https” at the beginning of the web address, this means the website is encrypted (the “s” stands for secure). Keep in mind that most Wi-Fi hotspots don’t encrypt the information you send over the internet. If you visit an unencrypted site on an unsecure network, your information could be up for grabs to hackers. At home, you should use the strongest level of encryption on your wireless network
- Passwords: change the default administrator passwords on your home wireless network to something only you know, and make it at least 10 characters long
- Make the wireless network invisible – Disable your home wireless network’s ability to broadcast its service set identifier (SSID)
- Don’t remain signed into accounts- Make sure you log off your accounts before closing your browser.
For more information on keeping your information safe, visit the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) sponsored website MyCreditUnion.gov.
If you suspect fraudulent activity on your Scient account, call our Member Services department from 8am to Midnight at 1.877.860.6928.
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