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Online Mistakes To Avoid

June 28, 2011 | Alliant Credit Union

Do you bank online? Here is a review on what you should be doing to keep your accounts and funds secure from online thieves.

Don't Use Easy To Guess Passwords
Use a unique password that has a combination of letters and numerals that also includes both uppercase and lowercase letters. Wallet Pop lists the following 10 passwords as the most commonly used:

  1. 123456
  2. 12345
  3. 123456789
  4. Password
  5. Iloveyou
  6. Princess
  7. Rockyou
  8. 1234567
  9. 12345678
  10. abc123

If your password is featured above or resembles one above, you should consider changing your password immediately. If you have to write your password down, save it in a secure place and destroy it when it is no longer needed. Be careful about where passwords are saved on your computer too. Never share passwords with anyone and use different passwords for all of your accounts. Should your accounts have been comprised, change your passwords immediately.

Don't Use Public WiFi To Access Accounts
If you use public WiFi and routinely check your account balances over public networks, you're increasing the odds that your accounts may be comprised. Always use a secure network to access your financial accounts and be suspicious of all computers, even the library or a friend's computer, because they may have viruses and spyware installed.

Don't Reveal Too Much Personal Information
One way to increase the chance of fraud and identity theft is revealing too much personal information online, especially on social networks where we tend to trust more than we probably should. Sharing certain information allows an online thief to guess your password or the answers to security questions. Information can include, your pet or children's names, the name of the schools you attended and other information that you use as account passwords or security questions. Revealing too much about yourself can negatively affect you financially as the thieves can use the information to hack your accounts in addition to using your identity to obtain a credit card or open other financial accounts in your name. Be cautious in sharing personal information on social networks and with whom you're the sharing the information.

You should never reveal the following online: your mother's maiden name, your Social Security Number, bank and other financial account number or your username or passwords for any account.

Don't Have Virus Protection
Keep your computer's virus protection up to date because common viruses can affect your computer. The viruses may record keystrokes and other tactics to obtain your account credentials. You may think you're not clicking on links with a virus because you only click on links from friends you trust, but your friends may be spreading malware without knowing it and thus accidently causing you to infect your computer.

Don't Check Your Accounts & Statements
With the increase of online banking accounts the practice of maintaining a register of transactions is decreasing. Why register transactions if your online account tracks it for you, right? Well, not regularly checking and balancing your checking, savings and credit card accounts and comparing it to your log of transactions, such as receipts or an excel worksheet, could cause you to miss suspicious activity. Check your accounts when it makes sense for you, such as once a day, once a week or at minimum, once a month after you receive your statements. Additionally, you could miss fees and other forgotten recurring transfers or payments posted to your account and increase your chances of overdraft.

If you receive your statements electronically, don't forget to review prior to paying your bills. Make sure they're accurate and there are no discrepancies or suspicious activity.

Don't Know Your Financial Institutions Security Policies
Identify how your financial institution will communicate with you online. If you receive an email from your financial institution asking for personal information, such as account numbers, card numbers, passwords and PINs, you'll now be able to confirm it's a phishing attempt and not to provide your information.

Alliant will never solicit members for personal information. If you are ever asked for this information, you can be confident that the email is not from Alliant Credit Union. Should you receive a solicitation for personal information, please notify us immediately and use only the phone number that comes from a reputable source, such as a statement, the back of a credit card or the phone book.


Alliant Credit Union does not manage the operation or content of the web site linked from this page. The privacy and security policies of these sites may differ from those practiced by Alliant Credit Union. Alliant does not represent either the third party or you if the two of you enter into a transaction.

© 2011 Alliant Credit Union. All Rights Reserved.

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