Online and mobile fraud have certainly become more commonplace and extra concerning these days. Unfortunately, just a password is no longer enough to protect your important personal information against the threat of a cyber data breach. Keep reading to find out important ways to protect yourself and your personal and financial data online.
- Set-up multi-factor authentication (MFA) on your various accounts. What is MFA? This is a secondary layer of security used to verify your identity. This means in addition to logging in as normal, you would also receive a confirmation email or text with a temporary code that is typically only valid for a few minutes. This second layer of protection allows the bank account you’re logging into, app, social media platform, or online shopping site (even Amazon has a two-factor authentication option for logging into your account) to verify that it’s really you and not a fraudster. Logging in with a fingerprint or Face ID is also considered an MFA option. Using MFA will allow you to be much less likely to get hacked. The more layers of security protection you have, the better!
- Be sure your software and OS are up to date. Always make sure your online and mobile security software has been updated. This means any anti-virus programs you’re running, firewalls, your computer, smartphone and tablet operating systems (OS), as well as apps and software. Making sure your devices are up to date means that there are no security holes present or ways to gain access to your secure data. An easy way to be sure this is set-up is to enable automatic device updates, or allow your device to perform the update each time you see a notification. Don’t wait until it’s too late!
- Beware of suspicious emails, calls, and texts. Even if the message or call appears to be from your financial institution. Also be weary of any links that may appear in emails or texts. Clicking on a fraudulent link can be a phishing or malware scam which enables an online criminal to gain access to your bank accounts and personal data. If you receive a message or call that you are unsure of, hang up and don’t click on any links. Instead, call or stop into your trusted financial institution and ask them if they were in fact trying to contact you. An important note to remember is that a legitimate financial institution, business, or organization will never typically contact you out of nowhere and ask you to reveal any personal or financial information (they already have it).
- Be careful when using public Wi-Fi. If you are logging into your mobile banking app or any secure accounts (especially ones that have access to credit or debit cards), be sure you are not on public Wi-Fi. This makes it easy for a cyber thief to hack into your device through a shared network. Login to these types of sites at home using your secure password protected network, and if you absolutely must login while on the go – be sure to turn off your device’s Wi-Fi connection first. How to know a browser or network is secure? You’ll see a padlock icon within the corner of the browser. This means that you’re on a safe, encrypted network.
- Use strong passwords and security questions. When you do need to create a password, make sure it’s a strong one that’s hard to crack. For instance – avoid using common names, words, and phrases. Also refrain from using numbers that are in order (ex: Hello123 is not a secure password), and try to also use special characters or substitute characters for letters/numbers (ex: F$rst!97). When setting up security questions, choose ones that only you would know personally and that would be extremely difficult to guess.
- Monitor your accounts and set-up notifications. It’s always a good idea to monitor your frequently used and bank accounts on a daily basis. This will allow you to check for any fraudulent transactions or purchases you did not make. Another useful tip is to setup account alerts for your bank accounts – most financial institutions or credit cards will allow you to set-up email or text alerts for purchases, debits over a certain amount, low balance alerts, phone or online transactions, and more. Enabling these notifications will allow you to see instantly when a transaction was made that was not done by you.
As always, if you find any fraudulent transactions or receive any suspicious communications regarding your First Financial account – please contact us right away at 732.312.1500 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also remember that First Financial will never ask you for online or mobile banking login codes you receive, under any circumstances. We will also not ever ask you to download any remote desktop applications to your device.
You can rest assured that First Financial’s Online Banking and Mobile App are protected with various MFA capabilities. We also have the First Financial Wallet App, where you can keep track of all your First Financial card purchases and receive real time alerts right to your mobile phone.
THINK First because There’s Harm In Not Knowing!