Identity theft is an increasing problem as more personal information is stored online. It's unfortunate, but there are phishers and identity thieves out in the online world and it's important to understand how to protect yourself from falling victim to their tricks. North Country Savings Bank takes security seriously, and you should too. Follow these steps to help protect your personal data online.
How to Avoid Identity Theft Online
Secure Your Passwords
- Create strong passwords that are complex and longer than six characters.
- Include upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters (!, @, #, $, etc.).
- Create a phrase to help you remember your password. For example, "My dog Rex" can help you remember the password Myd0gRe%.
- Use a different password for each online account and change them at least every 90 days.
- Never save passwords in a file on your computer or on a sticky note stuck to your desk or computer.
Secure Your Computer
- Maintain active, up-to-date antivirus, spyware, and firewall protection: Microsoft Security Essentials and AVG both offer free antivirus protection.
- Keep your operating system (Windows 10, for example) browser (Google Chrome, Firefox) and applications (such as Adobe Reader or iTunes) up to date.
- Exercise caution when using a public computer (airports, coffee shops, etc.), and be conscious of theft and people looking over your shoulder for usernames and passwords.
- Only download items and programs from trusted sites, and always scan files for viruses first.
- Be sure to backup important files frequently and store them in a safe place.
Secure your Email
- Never open attachments unless the sender explicitly notified you that they were sending one.
- Do not open spam messages and promptly delete them.
- Never click on a link in a spam message, even the unsubscribe link.
- If any company is asking for non-public personal information (account numbers, passwords, usernames, social security numbers, date of births, etc.) call the company at their listed number listed on their website and do not use the phone number provided in the email.