When it comes to keeping your personal and financial information safe, it’s important to be proactive. Follow these tips to help protect yourself from fraud and identity theft.
Safeguard your personal and financial information so that it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.
- Carry only necessary information with you. Leave your Social Security card and unused credits cards in a safe and secure location.
- Do not provide your Social Security number unless absolutely necessary.
- Make photocopies (front and back) of vital information you carry regularly and store them in a secure place, such as a safety deposit box. Then, if your purse or wallet is lost or stolen, you have contact information and account numbers readily available.
- If you are uncomfortable with a phone call that was not initiated by you, hang up or ask for the purpose of the call. Then contact the company using legitimate sources such as contact phone numbers found on the company’s website, your bank statements, and those listed on your ATM, debit or credit card.
- Never provide payment information on a call that you did not initiate.
- Replace paper invoices, statements and checks with electronic versions, if offered by your employer, bank, utility provider or merchant.
- If you have online account access with Alden State Bank NetTeller, you can reduce paper statements by signing up for Bill Pay and free online statements.
- Shred documents containing personal or financial information before discarding. Many fraud and identity theft incidents happen as a result of mail and garbage theft.
- Review your credit report at least once a year to look for suspicious or unknown transactions. You can get a free credit report once a year from each of the three major credit bureaus at https://www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Subscribe to a daily credit monitoring service, which includes a personal credit report and quarterly updates from up to all three major credit bureaus. (Restrictions and fees apply; refer to terms and conditions.)
- Promptly retrieve incoming mail and place outgoing mail in a U.S. Postal Service mailbox, instead of your home mailbox, to reduce the chance of mail theft. Consider paperless options for your bills and financial statements.
- Know your billing and statement cycles. Contact the company’s customer service department if you stop receiving your regular bill or statement.
There are many steps you can take to secure your checking, credit card, and debit card accounts. These tips can help get you started.
- Report lost or stolen cards and checks immediately.
- Review account statements carefully. Regular account review helps to quickly detect and stop fraudulent activity. Ask about suspicious charges.
- With Alden State Bank NetTeller, you can monitor your account online any time and as frequently as you like.
- Limit the amount of information on checks. Don’t print your driver license number or Social Security number on your checks.
- Store new and cancelled checks in a safe and secure location.
- Carry your checkbook with you only when necessary.
- Use tamper-resistant checks.
Credit and Debit Card
- Always keep your credit or debit card in a safe and secure place. Treat it as you would cash or checks. Contact Alden State Bank immediately at 1-877-331-4481 if your card is lost or stolen, or if you suspect unauthorized use.
- Do not send your card number through email, as it is typically not secure.
- Do not give out your card number over the phone unless you initiated the call.
- Regularly review your account statements as soon as you receive them to verify transactions. Contact Alden State Bank immediately if you identify any discrepancies.
- If you have forgotten your PIN or would like to select a new one, please visit your nearest Alden State Bank location.
- To protect your account, Alden State Bank recommends you change your Personal Identification Number (PIN) regularly.
- When selecting a PIN, don’t use a number or word that appears in your wallet, such as name, birth date, or phone number.
- Ensure no one sees your PIN when you enter it. Memorize your PIN. Don’t write it down anywhere, especially on your card, and never share it with anyone.
- Cancel and cut up unused credit and other cards. If you receive a replacement card, destroy your old card.
- Shop with merchants you know and trust.
- Make sure any internet purchase is secured with encryption to protect your account information. Look for secure transaction symbols such as a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your web browser, or “https://…” in the address bar of the website. The “s” indicates "secured" and means the web page uses encryption.
- Always log off from any website after a purchase transaction is made with your credit or debit card. If you cannot log off, shut down your browser to prevent unauthorized access to your account information.
- Safe-keep or securely dispose of your transaction receipts.
Whether you’re sending emails, shopping online, using social media, or just surfing the Web, it’s important to keep your account information and identity secure. Follow these tips to avoid compromising your information.
- Do not use your Social Security number as a username or password.
- Use a unique username and password for your Alden State Bank account, update them regularly, and do not use any part of your email address as your username or password.
- To change your Alden State Bank NetTeller username or password:
- Sign on to an online banking session.
- Click on the Options tab.
- Under Personal, scroll down to Modify Login Information.
- Protect your online passwords. Don’t write them down or share them with anyone.
- Protect your answers to security questions. Do not write down or share your answers with anyone. Alden State Bank will never ask you to provide answers to security questions via email.
- Use secure websites for transactions and shopping. Shop with merchants you trust. Make sure internet purchases are secured with encryption to protect your account. Look for secure transaction signs like a lock symbol in the lower right-hand corner of your browser or “https” in the address bar.
- Social media is increasingly popular, but it's a good idea to keep certain personal information private. Avoid sharing personal details that are used by financial institutions to identify you, such as your birth date, home address, mother’s maiden name, schools attended/mascots and pet’s name. Fraudsters may use this type of information to help gain access to an account since they are common answers to security questions.
- Always carefully review the privacy options for any social network you join. The privacy options and tools for social networks can be complex and should be reviewed carefully so that there is no disclosure of information you meant to remain private.
- Be wary of suspicious emails. Never open attachments, click on links, or respond to emails from suspicious or unknown senders. Learn more about fraudulent emails.
- If you receive a suspicious email that you think is a phish, do not respond or provide any information. Send the email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you respond to a phish email with personal or account information, contact 1-877-331-4481.
- When you use a mobile device to access your accounts, keep these tips in mind:
- Use the security functions that come with your device, such as the keypad lock or phone lock function when it is not in use, or the “find my phone” or “wipe out memory” functions if it is lost.
- Frequently delete text messages from your financial institution, especially before loaning out, discarding, or selling your mobile device.
- Keep your account numbers, passwords, Social Security number and date of birth private. Never share your personal or financial information in a text message, phone call or email.
- If you lose your mobile device or change your mobile phone number, sign on to Alden State Bank NetTeller to remove the old number from your mobile banking profile.
- Avoid storing your banking password or other sensitive information on your smartphone or in an app where it could be discovered if your phone is stolen.
- When you finish banking on your mobile device or using the Alden State Bank app, always log off and not just close the browser or app. For your security, Alden State Bank's mobile apps and mobile banking site will automatically log you off after 10 minutes of inactivity.
- To ensure the highest level of protection, keep your mobile operating system up to date and do not alter or "jail break" your mobile device. If you have concerns about an update to your mobile device, visit the company’s website to confirm that the update is legitimate.
- Be cautious when using public hotspots. Carefully consider your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection settings, even at a trusted retailer, as fraudsters can spoof the name of reputable hotspots.
- Download banking applications from reputable sources only to ensure the safety of your account information. Download the Alden State Bank app by searching “Alden State Bank” in your phone’s app store, or visit http://www.aldenbank.com on your phone's browser.
- If you have suspicions about the authenticity of a Alden State Bank mobile banking app, access your account through our mobile banking site at https://www.airteller.com/smartphone/aldenbank/Auth/Login.
- Treat QR codes with the same suspicion as you would any URL or link you find in an email. Much like links in email, QR codes can be used by fraudsters to send you to websites that may request your personal and financial information or could corrupt your mobile device.
- Use caution on which QR codes to scan, as some may have been tampered with if placed in a public place.
- Use a QR code scanner from a reputable source that will check links for malicious content. This capability can be found in the app description before downloading.
- Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources.
- Ensure your computer operating system, software, browser version and plug-ins are current. Before downloading an update to your computer program, first go to the company’s website to confirm the update is legitimate.
- Install a personal firewall on your computer and keep anti-virus software installed and updated.
- Be wary of conducting online banking activities on computers that are shared by others. Public computers should be used with caution. Online banking activities and viewing or downloading documents (statements, etc.) should be conducted, when possible, on a computer you know to be safe and secure.
- Configure your devices to prevent unauthorized users from remotely accessing your devices or home network. For example, if you use a home wireless router for your home internet connection, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to configure the router with appropriate security settings.
Red flags in email requests
- The requester sends a rush request, insisting that you wire the funds immediately
- Incorrect grammar/spelling
- Unusual bank name or non-local bank
- Sent at an unusual time of the day
- Suspicious attachments or links
- Inconsistencies between the "Sender" name and "From" email address or domain name—or the email originates from a non-corporate email address (ex. Gmail)
Taking steps to protect yourself
- Discuss the closing process and money transfer protocols with your real estate or settlement agent.
- When receiving email requests, verify the sender’s email address with a known source, such as their website or other formal documentation on file.
- Never accept wire instructions via email in a format that is not secure/encrypted.
- Never wire money to a title company without speaking to the title agent directly using a phone number you have on file. Don’t use phone numbers in the email.
- Beware of emails stating that wire instructions have changed, as they generally never do.
Legitimate companies will not ask you to provide or
verify sensitive information through non-secure
means, such as email or text.
verify sensitive information through non-secure
means, such as email or text.
Posing as legitimate companies
- Email and web addresses that are similar to a
recognized entity, but are off by one or two characters.
- Ask for information that they should already have:
your account number, Social Security Number, Employer
Identification Number, or username and password.
- Be cautious if they refer to recent activity that
you didn’t make, such as a purchase or deposit,
or to an account you don’t have.
Messages that create a sense of urgency
- Claim there has been suspicious activity
on your account.
- indicate a loss of access to your account if
you don’t respond.
- Request you upgrade or install new privacy
software or identity theft solutions.
- Offer a gift or prize for responding.
Emails with links or attachments
- Include web links that at first glance look right,
but lead to a fraudulent website.
- Attach a document that looks legitimate but contains
malware (malicious software). Only open attachments
you are expecting to receive.
- Preview links to see where they go by hovering your
mouse over the link without clicking on it. It will
display the real website address.
Know when you may have been phished
- Your statements stop being delivered to
your current address.
- Suspicious charges to your account.
- Denied credit unexpectedly
- IRS notification of duplicate taxes