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Tips to Stay Safe in a Digital World

Keeping your financial accounts safe in today’s digital world is a growing challenge.

Hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to gain access to your accounts through your computer and even your mobile devices. It’s important to remain proactive when it comes to protecting your finances. Here are some ways you can make sure you’re protected.

Add Antivirus Software
While you probably have antivirus software on your computer, did you know can also add this layer of protection to your mobile devices? And since you likely use your mobile devices as often, if not more, than your computer, it’s crucial you protect yourself.

From the big name companies, such as NortonTM and McAfeeTM, to many free versions, you can quickly find antivirus software for all your mobile devices. If you are choosing a free version, make sure you do your homework and only download software from a company you know and trust.

The Importance of Strong Passwords
Did you know that your Wi-Fi network can be detected even outside your home? Without a strong password, hackers could gain access to your network and possibly all the files on your computer or other connected devices. They could also send you viruses or perform illegal activities using your internet connection.

Strong passwords are crucial – especially for your financial accounts. Even if you use a password manager, it’s important to update your passwords on all your financial accounts regularly. 

Here are some tips to come up with a secure password:

  • Use capital and lowercase letters
  • Refrain from using names of individuals you know or pets you may have
  • Use a combination of symbols, letters and numbers
  • Include odd characters, such as ~ or *

Visit Secure Websites
It seems just about everything you could want is available to buy on the Internet today. However, when shopping online, you need to first make sure you’re dealing with a reputable company.
Next, you need to ensure you’re on a secure website. Before you make a purchase or enter any personal information, check the address bar. For a secure website, the URL will begin with https:// (not http://). If you do not see this at the beginning of the website URL, consider calling the company to place your order or visit their physical location. Make it a habit of always checking the URL for a secure site before entering any personal information on the Internet.

Beware of Sketchy Emails
One of the most common tactics used by hackers to get your personal information is through email. If you receive emails either offering something that sounds too good to be true or asking for personal information (i.e. account numbers, passwords, etc.), beware.

Before opening these emails, check the email address it’s coming from. Fraudsters will often choose email addresses that are similar to normal business emails, but instead include odd letters or characters.

For example, let’s say you receive an email from your streaming service saying your account is locked. Your streaming service’s normal emails come from accounts@abcstreaming.com but this email is coming from accounts@abcstreaming.da.com. This is a sign someone may be trying to steal information by hacking into your account. Avoid opening any attachment and report the email as phishing if possible.

Important Reminder
The credit union will never email you asking for personal information. Likewise, if you send an email to the credit union, do not include personal information such as your account number, social security number or account balance information.

We’re Here to Help!
Stay safe, create strong passwords and change them regularly for all your financial accounts. If you have questions on changing your password in Online or Mobile Banking, stop by or give us a call at 410-687-5240.

Each individual’s financial situation is unique and readers are encouraged to contact the Credit Union when seeking financial advice on the products and services discussed. This article is for educational purposes only; the authors assume no legal responsibility for the completeness or accuracy of the contents.