Stay Safe Online with These Tips

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

October is National Cybersecurity Month. With the Equifax breach still in our minds, now is the perfect time to make sure you're being as secure as possible online. 

Set Up VISA Alerts

There's no worse feeling than opening your bank statement and seeing thousands of dollars worth of fraudulent charges on your account—especially if days or weeks have gone by since the purchases were made. You can avoid that feeling by setting up set up Visa Purchase Alerts for your card. You can customize these alerts so you'll get a notification if someone uses your account to make a purchase that's above a certain price limit, if the purchase is being made outside the United States, if it's made online, or a number of other specific events. 

Monitor Your Accounts and Your Credit

Even with alerts, you still want to monitor your account on a weekly basis. This will help you catch any fraudulent purchases that your alerts aren't set up to catch. You should also take advantage of your free credit report, which you can once a year from sites like annualcreditreport.com

Keep Your Passwords Secure

As more aspects of our lives move online, there are passwords for everything. It can be tempting to use the same password for everything so that you don't forget it, but cybersecurity experts advise against this. Instead, consider using a password management system. These tools will generate random passwords and store them for you. Now, you only need to remember the password for your password manager! 

Use Two-Step Authentication on Your Online Accounts

Two-step authentication helps ensure hackers can't access your account if they have your password. If your account offers this tool, you'll be asked for a phone number or email address when you're setting up your account. When you try to access your account, you'll receive a text or email with a one-time access code that you'll need to enter every time. Since it's unlikely that a hacker would have access to both your password and your phone, it helps ensure the person trying to access your account really is you. If you're using a password manager, check to see if this is an option and be sure to turn it on. 

Freeze Your Credit

When you apply for a loan or try to open a credit card, your lender will pull your credit report from one or all of the three major credit reporting agencies. This helps them decide if you're likely to pay back your loan, if you've defaulted on loans before, and what your credit score is. When you freeze your credit report, you're telling those three credit reporting agencies that no one is allowed to see your report, even a lender. Since getting the reports is the first step in opening a new account, this helps ensure no one can open a new account in your name.  

Talk to Us

Staying safe online can be confusing. If you still have questions, feel free to come down to your local branch and talk to us about it. We're always happy to help!