October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
At home, at work, at school, and while on vacation, our growing dependence on technology demands greater security online. Because there are many different online scams out there including money wiring scams, online dating scams, and health care scams, we want to make sure you can recognize the risks and threats associated with using the internet. The importance of practicing safe behaviors while online especially applies to your online bank accounts.
To help prevent online scams from happening to you, there are some things to be aware of:
- Scam artists commonly pose as people you would normally trust: family members, law enforcement, government officials, and businesses you have dealt with in the past.
- Caller ID is not always a trustworthy way of identifying the caller. Technology makes it easy for a scammer to display a local number on Caller ID. More and more local numbers are being “spoofed.”
- Be aware of emails from trusted sources asking for money to be sent to them or a third party. Always call the person at a phone number you already have in your possession or from a reliable source, not a number given to you in an email.
- Scammers may request a wire transfer, pre-paid gift cards, or to deposit funds into an account.
- Once funds are sent and retrieved by the scammer it is impossible to get those funds back.
Tips to Protect Yourself:
- Do not give out any personal information to anyone who contacts you. Personal info includes but is not limited to:
- Name, address, social security number, date of birth, maiden names, account numbers, debit/credit card numbers.
- Do not try to scam the scammer or attempt to get info from them – just hang up!
- Don’t keep quiet! Scammers may direct you to not tell anyone what they have asked of you. Do talk to a trusted individual to help you make the right decision.
- Use discretion when posting personal and travel information on social media.
- Set email away messages to only respond to known contacts in your address book.
- Disable geo-locational features, such as automatic status updates and friend finder functionalities.
Cyber Security Tips & Reminders
With a little care it’s possible to avoid these problems. Follow these simple tips:
- Keep your electronic devices with you at all times.
- Do not access sensitive accounts (bank accounts, credit cards, etc) or conduct sensitive transactions over public networks.
- Public networks include hotel wired and Wi-Fi networks, airport Wi-Fi and coffee shop Wi-Fi.
- Use wired connections instead of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections, whenever possible.
- If it is a shared wired network, use the same caution that you would use in a public Wi-Fi network.
- With both wired and Wi-Fi be sure to use up-to-date anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-adware protection software; apply recommended patches to your operating system and software (additional information below). If your device has a firewall option, be sure to use it!
- Keep your software current by having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system in place. This will help decrease the chance of a virus, malware or any other online threats.
- Set up automatic software updates on all of your devices. (Computers, Smart phones or any other web-enabled device)
- Your password should be long and strong and contain at least 3 of the following: upper-case letter, lower-case letter, number, and symbol. Longer passwords are more secure than shorter ones because there are more characters to guess.
- Do not share your password.
- Choose a strong password that is unique to your life and not something that can be easily guessed.
- Avoid using words that can be found in the dictionary, and consider using paraphrases. (Example: This passwd is 4 my Email)
- Always use a different password for each online account.
- If another website is breached and the password database is leaked, hackers will try to use the leaked password to access your account on other websites in a process known as credential stuffing.
- Change your password several times a year.
- Protect your password. If you write it down do not leave it out in the open, make sure it’s in a secure location.
Dakota Community Bank & Trust’s IT Officer and Web Administrator Tyler Boespflug’s best advice is to “Stay cyber aware.” He goes on to add “Cyber attackers love to exploit a person’s kindness and desire to help. Familiarizing yourself with their tactics and attack methods will help you make safe decisions before clicking links, opening attachments or responding to inquiries from suspicious sources.”
Cyber security is one of our top priorities for our customers. Please remember if you ever feel your account has been compromised, or if you come across unauthorized access or activity, notify the bank immediately.