Identity theft is a serious problem and many people worry about accessing their accounts online. Contrary to popular belief, you may actually be safer conducting business online. Those who monitor their accounts online actually experience significantly smaller losses than those using paper statements since they can catch discrepancies in their financial statements earlier.
While conducting financial transactions online can actually decrease your chances of becoming a victim of ID theft, you still need to watch out for Internet-savvy scam artists. Hiway recognizes the importance of maintaining the security of your private information and we have security measures in place to protect you, but there are also a few simple ways you can help prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands.
You play a crucial role in preventing others from logging in to your account. Never use passwords that are easy to guess. Examples of bad passwords are: Birth dates, first names, pet names, addresses, phone numbers, social security numbers, etc. We also encourage you to implement the following security techniques:
- Never reveal your password to anyone or leave your password anywhere that someone else can obtain and use it.
- We highly recommend not using your web browser to store your login credentials.
- Change your password on a regular basis. Once every 90 days is a good rule of thumb.
- Use the Logout link to end each Tellernet session. Do not use the Back button to exit the site.
Don't get Hooked by "Phishing"
Phishing is a high-tech scam that uses email or pop-up messages to deceive you into disclosing sensitive information, like your financial data.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), phishers send an email or pop-up message that claims to be from a trusted business or organization that you deal with. The message usually says that you need to "update" or "validate" your account information. It will often also threaten dire consequences if you don't respond immediately, and include a link to a phony website. This website will mimic the trusted organization's website in order to trick you into entering your personal information, so the scammers can steal your identity.
- If you get an email or pop-up that asks for personal or financial information, do not reply or click on the message. Hiway and other legitimate organizations don't ask for this information via email. If you believe the request may be legitimate, contact the organization using contact information that you have verified.
- Never send your password, account number, or other account access information by email.
- Be cautious about opening any attachment or clicking links from emails you receive, regardless of who sent them.
- Use anti-virus software and keep it up to date. Some emails contain software that can harm your computer or track your activities on the internet without your knowledge. Anti-virus software can protect you from inadvertently installing this software.
- Use a firewall to protect your computer. A firewall helps make you invisible on the Internet and blocks communications from unauthorized sources.
- Keep your web browsing software and your operating system (like Windows or Macintosh) up to date. This will help close security holes in your system that hackers or phishers could exploit.
Reporting Suspected Phishing Emails
If you get a spam email that is phishing for information, forward it to the following:
ID Theft Prevention and Monitoring
- Don't rely on monthly paper statements to check the status of your accounts. When possible, monitor them frequently online through Tellernet online banking and use account status email alerts.
- Always ensure that you're using a secure web page when submitting sensitive information via your web browser.
- To make sure you're on a secure web page, check the beginning of the web page address in your browser's address bar—it should be "https://" rather than "http://"
- Register Your Cards - Protect your MasterCard® Debit Cards and Visa® Credit Cards with a password you create, giving you assurance that only you can use your card when shopping online with participating merchants.
- Free Annual Credit Report - Reviewing your credit report can alert you to signs of identity theft that you might not have noticed.
- Consumer's Guide to Credit Reports - This site is maintained by the Federal Reserve Board—provides answers to some of the most common, and most important, questions about credit.