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COLFAX — In recognition of National Cybersecurity Month in October, Dairy State Bank and the Independent Community Banking Association (ICBA) offer simple tips for safeguarding sensitive data when making purchases online or via a smart device, and what to do if you suspect your information has been compromised.
“We believe educating our customers about account security and cyber threats is very important,” says Mike Bock, CEO of Dairy State Bank, which has locations in Colfax and ten other northwest Wisconsin communities. “We take great care in handling our customers’ sensitive information and, in turn, want to equip them with practical steps they can take to avoid falling prey to identity theft and fraud. As the holidays approach, it’s more important than ever.”
Steps you can take to reduce your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud include:
• Use complex passwords and differentiate them across multiple platforms. For example, use one password for your online bank account, and a different password for your e-mail.
• Use a password manager. With multiple online accounts locked by unique passwords, it can be challenging to remember them all. Don’t write them on paper and put them in your desk. A more secure option is to utilize a password management software app that you can install on your computer or mobile device. That’s the password you’ll need to remember so you’ll have access to the rest that are stored in the manager.
• Do a system check. Purge unused apps and outdated or sensitive information stored in old files and e-mails. Also, ensure software on internet-connected devices is current.
You can also make sure your account has not been compromised by taking these steps:
• Check bank statements regularly to ensure transactions are legitimate.
• Read the fine print when purchasing items online. Often a website or application will ask for permission to save account information.
• Stay vigilant. Be mindful when shopping online and look for signs of fraudulent websites. Spelling or grammatical errors, missing contact information and suspicious URLs or e-mail addresses are all red flags.
• Don’t be rushed. Fraudsters often use the power of urgency to push you into making a decision without considering all details. If someone is threatening legal consequences to force you into action, chances are, you’re in the middle of a scam.
• Ask your community bank for help. Many banks offer products and/or services that can enhance your account’s security. Talk with a customer service representative to see if these products/services fit your needs. And of course, if you are concerned that one of your online accounts has been hacked, your bank can help you start the identity recovery process.
Dairy State Bank houses a number of education videos about cyber security and identity theft in its Online Education Center. Visit www.dairystatebankcom, click on the Resources tab and then Education Center. Scroll down and click on Money IQ to enter the video library.
Dairy State Bank is a member of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC).