Shop Safe for the Holidays!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Cheers to Safe Holiday Shopping

‘Tis the season of gift giving. Before you start making lists and checking them twice, give yourself the gift of cyber safety! According to the National Retail Federation, 73% of consumers plan to use their smartphone or tablet to research or make a purchase this holiday season. Don’t let cyber grinches turn merriment into mayhem. Following simple cybersecurity tips and practices before and while you shop online will help ensure peace of mind during the holidays and year-round.

Online Shopping Tips

  • Think before you click: Beware of ads encouraging users to click on links. If you receive an enticing offer, do not click on the link. Instead, go directly to the company’s website to verify the offer is legitimate.
  • Do your homework: Fraudsters are fond of setting up fake e-commerce sites. Prior to making a purchase, read reviews to hear what others say about the merchant. In addition, look for a physical location and any customer service information. It’s also a good idea to call the merchant to confirm that they are legitimate.
  • Consider your payment options: Using a credit card is much better than using a debit card; there are more consumer protections for credit cards if something goes awry. Or, you can use a third party payment service instead of your credit card. There are many services you can use to pay for purchases – like Google Pay — without giving the merchant your credit card information directly.
  • Watch what you give away: Be alert to the kinds of information being collected to complete your transaction. If the merchant is requesting more data than you feel comfortable sharing, cancel the transaction. You only need to fill out required fields at checkout and you should not save your payment information in your profile. If the account autosaves it, after the purchase go in and delete the stored payment details.
  • Keep tabs on your bank and credit card statements: Be sure to continuously check your accounts for any unauthorized activity. Good record keeping goes hand-in-hand with managing your cybersecurity. Another tip for monitoring activity is to set up alerts so that if your credit card is used, you will receive an email or text message with the transaction details.

Basic Safety and Security Tips

  • Keep a clean machine: Keep a clean machine. Be sure that all internet-connected devices ‒ including PCs, smartphones and tablets ‒ are free from malware and infections by running only the most current versions of software and apps.
  • Lock Down Your Login: Create long and unique pass phrases for all accounts and use multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever possible. MFA will fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics or a unique one-time code sent to your phone or mobile device.
  • Use a secure Wi-Fi: Using public Wi-Fi to shop online while at your favorite coffee shop is tremendously convenient, but it is not cyber safe. Don’t make purchases via public Wi-Fi; instead use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or your phone as a hotspot.

Resource: National Cybersecurity Alliance

5 Ways to be Cyber Secure at Work

Friday, October 1, 2021

Businesses face significant financial loss when a cyber attack occurs. In 2019, the U.S. business sector had 17% increase in data breaches: 1,473 breaches.* Cybercriminals often rely on human error—employees failing to install software patches or clicking on malicious links—to gain access to systems. From the top leadership to the newest employee, cybersecurity requires the vigilance of everyone to keep data, customers, and capital safe and secure. #BeCyberSmart to connect with confidence and support a culture of cybersecurity at your organization.

Simple Tips:

  1. Treat business information as personal information. Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary data. While you may think of trade secrets and company credit accounts, it also includes employee personally identifiable information (PII) through tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.
  2. Don’t make passwords easy to guess. As “smart” or data-driven technology evolves, it is important to remember that security measures only work if used correctly by employees. Smart technology runs on data, meaning devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers, and other devices are constantly exchanging data to complete tasks. Take proper security precautions and ensure correct configuration to wireless devices in order to prevent data breaches. For more information about smart technology see the Internet of Things Tip Card. Read the Internet of Things Tip Sheet for more information.
  3. Be up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it and set your security software to run regular scans.
  4. Social media is part of the fraud toolset. By searching Google and scanning your organization’s social media sites, cybercriminals can gather information about your partners and vendors, as well as human resources and financial departments. Employees should avoid oversharing on social media and should not conduct official business, exchange payment, or share PII on social media platforms. Read the Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information.
  5. It only takes one time. Data breaches do not typically happen when a cybercriminal has hacked into an organization’s infrastructure. Many data breaches can be traced back to a single security vulnerability, phishing attempt, or instance of accidental exposure. Be wary of unusual sources, do not click on unknown links, and delete suspicious messages immediately. For more information about email and phishing scams see the Phishing Tip Sheet.

For more information on how you can Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart, visit www.cisa.gov/ncsam.

* Identity Theft Resource Center, “2019 End of the Year Data Breach Report”, 2019

Tips to Protect Against a Cyberattack

Thursday, October 21, 2021

As more consumers move to online banking in the wake of the pandemic, criminals are looking for ways to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals, particularly older Americans who are often targeted by fraudsters. In fact, older Americans were particularly hard hit with total losses for those 50 and older exceeding $1.8 billion, according to FBI data for 2020.

As financial stewards of our community, we take great care to protect customers’ sensitive data.

We encourage consumers to take the following proactive measures to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of identity theft and fraud:

  • Use strong passwords, install anti-virus, anti-malware, and anti-ransomware software to prevent and detect fraudulent activity. Apply software patches.
  • Be careful with sensitive information. Do not send bank account passwords or other sensitive information over unencrypted email and try not to use public wi-fi when conducting personal business.
  • Resist opening email attachments or clicking on links in unsolicited or suspicious looking email. Remember our bank will never email or call you and request login credentials.

To protect your account consumers are advised to:

  • Monitor account activity regularly for transaction irregularities and report discrepancies to the bank.
  • Back up personal information and store it safely so that in the unfortunate event of ransomware or other cyber threats you can retrieve your data.
  • Look for special indicators such as web addresses with https:// that denote extra measures taken to help secure your information. URLS that end in .BANK are assigned for exclusive use by financial institutions.

Together, we can work together to prevent fraud!

Can You Spot a Phishing Scam?

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Every day, thousands of people fall victim to fraudulent emails, texts and calls from scammers pretending to be their bank. And in this time of expanded use of online banking, the problem is only growing worse. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission’s report on fraud estimates that American consumers lost a staggering $1.9 billion to these phishing schemes and other fraud in 2019.

It’s time to put scammers in their place.

Online scams aren’t so scary when you know what to look for. River City Bank is committed to helping you spot them as an extra layer of protection for your account. We’ve joined with the American Bankers Association and banks across the country in a nationwide effort to fight phishing—one scam at a time.

We want every bank customer to become a pro at spotting a phishing scam—and stop bank impostors in their tracks. It starts with these four words: Banks Never Ask That. Because when you know what sounds suspicious, you’ll be less likely to be fooled.

These top 3 phishing scams are full of red flags:

  • Text Message: If you receive a text message from someone claiming to be your bank asking you to sign in, or offer up your personal information, it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
  • Email: Watch out for emails that ask you to click a suspicious link or provide personal information. The sender may claim to be someone from you bank, but it’s a scam. Banks never ask that.
  • Phone Call: Would your bank ever call you to verify your account number. No! Banks never ask that. If you’re ever in doubt that the caller is legitimate, just hang up and call the bank directly at a number you trust.

You’ve probably seen some of these scams before. But that doesn’t stop a scammer from trying. For more tips on how to keep phishing criminals at bay, including videos, an interactive quiz and more, visit www.BanksNeverAskThat.com. And be sure to share the webpage with your friends and family.

What’s Your Scam Score? Take five minutes to become a scamspotter pro by taking the #BanksNeverAskThat quiz at BanksNeverAskThat.com. Share your score on Twitter to encourage your friends and family to test their scam savviness, too. The more scamspotters out there, the harder it is for phishing criminals to catch their next victim!

Tips to Protect Against Fraud

Monday, October 11, 2021

Tips for Consumers to Protect Against Fraud

Banks use a variety of safeguards to protect your information and prevent fraud, such as special fraud detection software, sophisticated computer security systems, employee training and strict privacy policies. As an account holder, you play a role in protecting your money and information, too. Here are some important tips for consumers.

How to Protect Your Identity and Accounts…

  • Watch your account(s). Monitor your account transactions online frequently. Set up electronic transaction notifications and balance alerts through your bank’s online banking service to monitor activity. Check your statement every month.
  • Be alert for phishing scams trying to trick you out of giving up account numbers and other information. They often arrive as email, phone or text messages asking for your account number or other details. Banks and credit card companies already have that information and won’t ask you for it in such unsolicited requests. Call your bank directly or navigate to their official website from a separate browser page if you’re suspicious.
  • Change your password regularly and avoid using a similar password for your bank accounts as you do for other websites or apps. Don’t keep a list of passwords, PINS or usernames in your wallet or in an unsecure computer file.
  • Be aware of your surroundings and equipment being used at ATMs and merchant swipe terminals to avoid skimming devices or other methods crooks use to steal your information.
  • Don’t give your Social Security number or other personal credit information about yourself to anyone who contacts you.
  • Order copies of your credit report once a year to ensure accuracy.
  • When using social networking sites, never include personal contact information including telephone numbers, Social Security number, birth date, email addresses, physical address, mother’s maiden name or other information that could provide sensitive information to fraudsters or hints to passwords.
  • Don’t open email from unknown sources and use virus detection software.

What to Do if You’re a Victim of Fraud…

  • Contact your bank immediately if you know or suspect your account has been compromised or you identity has been stolen. Use the tools it has to help you.
  • File a police report and contact the three major credit reporting companies. The fraud unit numbers are:
    • TransUnion – 800.680.7289
    • Experian – 888.397.3742
    • Equifax – 800.525.6285
  • Keep records of your communication with authorities, including names and contact numbers.
  • Report online crime or fraud to your local United States Secret Service (USSS) Electronic Crimes Task Force Atlanta office at 404.331.6111 or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

  • Report ID theft and Consumer Fraud to the FTC’s ID Theft Consumer Response Center at 1.877.ID.THEFT (1.877.438.4338) or www.ftc.gov/idtheft.

Background: Banks Act Swiftly to Protect Customers when Fraud is Detected or Suspected.

  • Many banks have special fraud detection software that constantly monitors accounts to help flag ID theft.
  • If a bank detects possible fraud or if it is contacted about potential fraud, it immediately takes action by closing accounts when appropriate and beginning an investigation. Depending on the data that is compromised, the bank may take a variety steps such as:
  • Enhanced account monitoring and customer notification
  • Blocking account access and re-issuing cards
  • Reimburse customers for confirmed fraudulent transactions.
  • Due to the zero-liability fraud protection offered by most banks and credit card companies, most victims do not experience any out-of-pocket costs from fraudulent transactions.
  • Banks bear the cost of account fraud, not consumers or merchants. Reimbursing customers and re-issuing cards can cost millions of dollars. For example, the Target data breach in late 2013 cost banks and credit unions $200 million just to re-issue cards, according to data collected by the Consumer Bankers Association and Credit Union National Association. Many Georgia banks re-issued debit cards out of an abundance of caution. The cost estimate does not include reimbursement for actual fraudulent charges.
  • Beyond the monetary cost, banks bear significant reputational risk if their account protection efforts, customer service and communication efforts about fraud are not excellent. Banks have become proactive and effective at dealing with these issues.
  • Most banks have special toll free numbers and websites devoted to helping victims of identity theft.
  • Many banks offer special worksheets, phone numbers and standardized affidavits to send to other businesses that may need to be contacted. A special affidavit is available from the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/idtheft

 

Resource: Georgia Bankers Association

Protect Your Computer From Malware

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Keep your firewall turned on. A firewall puts a protective barrier between your computer and the Internet. Turning it off for even a minute increases the risk that your PC will be infected with malware.

Install or update anti-virus & anti-malware software from a trusted source. You need both to prevent malicious software programs from embedding themselves on your computer. Set them to update automatically.

Install or update your antispyware technology. Some spyware collects information about you without your consent; others produce unwanted pop-up ads on your web browser.

Keep your operating system up to date. Updates are needed to fix security holes.

Be careful what you download. Careless downloading can beat even the most vigilant anti-virus/ anti-malware software. Investigate any free software before downloading.

Use flash drives cautiously. Putting your flash drive (thumb drive) in a computer that is infected could corrupt the drive, and ultimately your computer.

Close your browser when you’re done working. Delete the cache, history and passwords each time. Also, turn off your computer. Being “always on” leaves you connected to the crooks. Turning your computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection.

Ignore scareware. Scareware pop-ups may look like actual warnings from your system, but they are not. Made to appear authentic, they often deliver malicious payloads. Close them with the “X” button.

Review your bank and credit card statements. It’s one of the easiest ways to get the tip-off that something is wrong. Also, monitor your credit reports. For even more protection, you might consider a credit monitoring service that will alert you when there’s an entry in your credit file.

Choose strong passwords. Create at least an eight-digit complex password to protect activities like online financial transactions and don’t use that password anywhere else. Change your most critical passwords every 90 days.