Washington, D.C. (Oct. 1, 2018) — In recognition of National Cybersecurity Month in October, the Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) is reminding consumers of simple steps they can take to safeguard their sensitive data when making purchases online or via a smart device and what to do if they suspect their information has been compromised.
“Last year, 143 million consumers in the United States were victims of cybercrime, underscoring the importance of safeguards to protect against a cyberattack,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “Community banks take this responsibility very seriously and want to do their part to help strengthen our nation’s cybersecurity ecosystem and ensure all Americans are armed with practical tips to avoid falling prey to identity theft and fraud.”
There are steps consumers can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud. ICBA encourages consumers to:
- Enable the strongest authentication tools offered by their bank. Popular authentication methods include biometrics, security keys and single-use codes.
- Use complex passwords and differentiate them across multiple platforms. For example, customers should use one password for their online bank account and another for their email account.
- Do a system check. Purge unused apps and outdated or sensitive information stored in old files and emails and ensure all software on internet-connected devices is current.
Consumers can also make sure their account has not been compromised by taking the following steps:
- Monitor account activity regularly for any transaction irregularities and report any discrepancies to your financial institution immediately.
- Read the fine print when purchasing items online. Often a website or application will ask for permission to save account information.
- Stay vigilant. Be mindful when shopping online and look for signs of illegitimate websites. Spelling or grammatical errors, missing contact information, and suspicious URLs or email addresses are all red flags.
Learn more about how to protect your digital life during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month by visiting the Stay Safe Online website.