As many aspects of our lives shifted online this year due to COVID-19, it remains important now more than ever to adhere to strong cybersecurity practices. Protecting your personal information and spotting the common techniques that fraudsters use can help to defend you, your family and others from falling victim to a scam or fraud.
In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October, review these 10 tips for personal and business customers to stay safe online.
- Scammers capitalize on the COVID-19 news headlines. From unemployment checks, to contact tracing, and the Paycheck Protection Program, scammers continue to take advantage of the news headlines. For more information on COVID-19 scams, please visit the FTC’s website.
- Prevent an online account takeover. Don’t click on direct links in emails or SMS text messages, especially those that are asking you to enter sensitive information. In doing so, fraudsters may be able to gain access to your information or online accounts. Be on the lookout for any unsolicited email requests from online payment services or merchants claiming fraud on your account. Instead of clicking on a link, go directly to the source to review your information.
- Use strong and unique passwords for each website. Instead of writing down passwords, use a password management tool or password vault.
- Think before you share on social media. Oversharing personal details can provide fraudsters with the opportunity to craft personalized spear phishing attacks or answers to your security questions. Limit the amount of personal information that you share online.
- Be wary of suspicious SMS text messages, emails and phone calls. Middlesex Savings Bank will never call, text, or email you to ask for your pin number or online banking password.
- Protect devices that connect to the Internet. Never use public Wi-Fi to access or transmit sensitive information, update your privacy settings, and make sure your operating system, software, browser versions and plug-ins are current. Ensure that any law firms that you correspond or exchange information with have the proper infrastructure controls in place to safeguard your information.
- Protect yourself from identity theft. Be on the lookout for signs that your identity and bank accounts may have been compromised and you need to take action. Some indicators may include new accounts or credit cards you didn’t apply for, unexplained debits on your account, or inaccurate information on your credit report.
- Review your credit report monthly and know when to consider a credit freeze. Sign up for a free credit monitoring service and routinely log in to review for any inaccuracies. You may consider a credit freeze if you suspect identity theft, data breaches, or unauthorized access to your credit report.
- Never send money to someone that you don’t know. Be skeptical of an unexpected invoice or request to receive or pay for anything using a gift card. If something doesn't seem right, you can always hang up, stop communicating, or walk away.
- Be vigilant when wiring money. Require that a wire transfer request received by email be confirmed in person or over the phone with a call back to the individual sending the request.