Every day, you give away personal information about yourself, sometimes without even realizing it. You do this when you bookmark a page on the internet, add an item to an ecommerce “wish list,” or complete an “All About Me” quiz on a social network. Learn tips and tools on how you can better protect your privacy and private information. Continue exploring this site for additional banking safety information including online and mobile security, debit card and ATM safety, avoiding email scams and security tips for businesses.
Take proactive steps to insure your passwords are protected. In our day and age, we use passwords for everything. Passwords are designed to protect our devices and information, but we also must learn to protect our passwords to prevent hacking from outside parties or individuals. Compromised passwords could potentially result in identity theft or stolen funds, so it is vital to use password protection strategies.
Avoid using common passwords. Birthdates, children’s names, favorite team and anniversaries are some common passwords that hackers will try first. Avoid passwords like these, as most hackers can access this information from your social media page. Also, avoid using passwords that can be found in the dictionary. Instead, use a mysterious and unique password that mixes letters (upper and lowercase), numbers and special characters. Here are some tips to help you build a strong password.
- Tip 1 Spell a word backwards.
- Tip 2 Replace a letter with a special character.
- Tip 3 Randomly use capital letters.
- Tip 4 Add a number.
If you find that this type of password is hard to remember, then consider making a phrase. For example, the password “I<3AB.” stands for “I love Ameris Bank.”
Keep your password a secret. Never share your password with anyone and also avoid writing your passwords down. If you must have a document of all your passwords and accounts, make sure to keep it in a secure location such as a safe.
Use different passwords each login. If your password is compromised for one login, the hacker will attempt to use this same password on all your other logins. If the password is the same, the hacker has access to all your accounts and information. By using a different password for each login, this will help block the hacker from getting access to your other accounts.
To help remember each password, first establish a strong base password. Next, add the first three letters of the login service provider to the end of the password. For example if your base password was “I<3AB”: Your Amazon password could be I<3AB.AMA. Your Gmail password could be I<3AB.GMA. Your Ameris Bank online banking password could be I<3AB.AME. For additional information about Computer Security, visit www.identitytheft.gov, the federal government’s website to help you be safe, secure and responsible online.
Although you can’t control how the information you provide online is used by others, you can control your online behavior, and in that way, protect your online privacy. Knowing how to navigate the internet safely is essential to maintaining your privacy online. Remember that you decide what information about yourself to reveal, when, why, and to whom. Here’s how:
- Read the privacy policies posted on websites and mobile apps before using their website, purchasing their product, or downloading their mobile app.
- Update the privacy and security settings on your social networking sites to control who sees your posts and adjust them to your personal comfort level. Don’t rely on the default settings. Know that identity thieves, scam artists, debt collectors, stalkers, employers, and corporations use social networks to gather information about you.
- Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of a newspaper.
- Never give out your full name, address, birth date, or any other personally identifiable information that could be used to impersonate you or gain access to your accounts.
- Make sure that your password is long, complex and combines letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t reuse passwords on multiple accounts. Instead, choose unique passwords for each account, especially your online banking accounts.
- Log out of websites and browsers when you’re finished using them. Never leave your online accounts open.
- Be wary of sites that offer some sort of reward or prize in exchange for your contact information. And use a separate email address for your online activity – one that you can easily dispose of.
- Before making a purchase from an online retailer, ensure that they are to be trusted and that the transaction is secure and encrypted.
- Keep your devices updated. Periodically review and delete apps and games you no longer use that have access to your accounts and devices.
- Know what action to take if you suspect unusual activity or a breach.
Follow these guidelines to help you ensure that your information remains safe.
- Keep your firewall turned on. A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who might try to gain access to crash it, delete information, or even steal passwords or other sensitive information.
- Install or update both anti-virus and anti-malware software. 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, documents, images and apps can beat even the most vigilant anti-virus/ anti-malware software.
- Close your browser when you’re done working. Delete the cache, history and passwords each time. Also, turn off your computer. Turning the computer off effectively severs an attacker’s connection.
- Monitor your credit. Since you can’t protect information that’s in the hands of a myriad of organizations, you need to 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.
- Ignore scareware. Scareware pop-ups may look like actual warnings from your system, but they’re 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 notice if something is wrong.
- Choose strong passwords. And don’t use the password you use for online banking anywhere else. Change your most critical passwords every 90 days.
Ameris Bank has taken strong measures to ensure the security and safety of your account and our overall online banking system. By staying alert to potential security threats and keeping in mind the suggestions provided throughout our website, you can help us keep your banking safe and secure.