THREE steps to stay safe on the Internet
November 04, 2009
The Internet has made it more convenient for people to shop, pay bills and communicate with each other. On the other hand, it has also made it easy for crooks to commit identity theft and fraud. Take
these three steps to protect yourself while online.
1. Play keep away with your personal information.
Be skeptical of any e-mail that appears to come from a broker, bank or other trusted company that asks you to “verify,” “confirm” or “update” your personal information. Never reply to such an e-mail by sharing personal information, such as your social security number, account numbers, credit card information or passwords. The Internet is rife with scam e-mails containing links to legitimate-looking sites especially created for identity theft. If you want to do a reality check on such incoming e-mails, don’t reply to the e-mail. Instead, correspond with the company yourself by looking up the phone number or e-mail address and question company representatives about the e-mail.
2. Remember that regular e-mail is not secure.
Never put anything in an Internet-based e-mail that you’re unwilling to share with the world. Any information contained in your message can be hijacked and forwarded. This pertains to e-mails with personal information to Alliant, as well. If you want to e-mail confidential information to Alliant support staff, you’ll need to use our Secure e-mail online platform accessible through Alliant’s Online Banking. These
e-mails do not travel over the Internet. Instead, these e-mails are 100% secured – they are transmitted between our internal servers to our internal Online Banking (SkyBranch) mailbox. To send a Secure e-mail, go to www.alliantcreditunion.org and first log in to Alliant Online Banking with your member account number and access code. Then, click “secure e-mail” on the left-hand navigation menu. You can proceed with safety to e-mail account-specific information to us. If you send an unsecured e-mail to us, one that is not sent through our Online Banking system, we can’t be confident that you initiated the e-mail and, to maintain the integrity of the personal and confidential information entrusted to us by members, we will only answer general, but not account specific questions.
3. Don’t open attachments from unknown sources.
These e-mails may contain sinister viruses or worms specifically designed to cause havoc to your computer. But then, e-mail attachments from trusted sources and friends can also inadvertently contain viruses. Be sure to have a reliable and updated virus checker installed to scan all attachments before you open them. A couple of other precautions: Change your password often, using numbers, letters and characters. And always log out when you’re finished using your computer. Plus, if you’re using a public terminal, be sure to clear your history and cookies, and then exit the browser you’re using.
Sources: secureflorida.org, onguardonline.gov and ccsd.k12.co.us
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