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The Harsh Reality of Cybercrime; Tips to Avoid the Three Common Mistakes

The Harsh Reality of Cybercrime; Tips to Avoid the Three Common Mistakes

At United Bank, a first-class customer experience means more than just friendly service, strong banking relationships and a robust suite of financial products. Exceptional customer service also hinges on a financial institution’s ability to not only ensure a customer’s personal financial information is safe and secure but also educate individuals on what they can do every day to protect themselves from being a victim of cybercrime.
Today, cyber and data security are among the most pressing issues facing the banking industry. It has also become one of the greatest threats confronting the United States due to the impact cybercrime can have on our national security, economy and public safety.
Cyberattacks are increasing at an incredibly fast rate and the harsh reality is cybercrime will likely never be completely eliminated, which has compelled banks and other financial institutions to dedicate more resources to it than ever before.
Also, these attacks are becoming more frequent and more sophisticated as cybercriminals constantly search for new ways to steal money. And as we continue to rely more and more on devices like computers, smartphones and tablets to do our banking or online shopping, we will always be vulnerable to fraudsters. The recent statistics are alarming:
  • There are 14 cybercrime victims every second; over a million adult victims per day
  • 44% of adults online have been victims of cybercrimes in the last year
  • 81% of cybercrime is done through hacking while 69% is done with malware that is unwittingly downloaded along with “free” music and other files
  • Some estimate that cybercrimes cost about $114 billion annually
That’s why banks like United are proactive when it comes to fighting cybercrime. Internally, we make sure our staff is trained and tested while always researching and implementing industry best practices. Externally, we take every opportunity to heighten awareness among our customers to help them ward off cybercriminals.

Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Cyber Crime

So here are some tips to help you avoid the three common mistakes that make us susceptible to cybercrime and computer fraud:

Don’t be a Victim of Social Engineering

  • Don’t give out personal information over the phone or on-line
  • Don’t trust that people are who they say they are
  • If you suspect deceit, hit delete or hang up! Be suspicious of unsolicited phone calls, visits, or email messages from individuals asking about personal information.
  • Report any suspected violations right away to local law enforcement and/or to your financial institution.

Practice safe Email & Internet

  • Be wary of emails that ask you to provide your user ID and password.  Reputable companies will not send unsolicited email that requests your password or other confidential information.
  • Think twice before clicking on links or opening attachments – this is the most common way that hackers get malware onto your computer.  Instead of clicking a link in an email, type it out in your browser.  When in doubt, type it out.
  • Be wary of emails that create a sense of urgency by preying on human emotions such as charities, lotteries, and dire family emergencies.
  • Limit the amount of personal information you post on social media sites - Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, such as your address or information about your schedule or routine.

Protect Your Computer & Mobile Devices

  • Keep computers current with latest updates and security protections. Firewall, Antivirus, security updates, latest OS, Trusteer for Online Banking
  • If you use Online Banking, check financial status and activity regularly.  Report unusual or suspicious activity.  Download Trusteer.
  • Use strong passwords, avoid using the same password for everything, change passwords often, keep them confidential – do not share
  • Use two browsers. Do your financial browsing, such as financial transactions, in a separate browser from your "casual Web surfing" browser.
  • Physically protect your computer or mobile device - Password-protect your computer - Make sure that you have to enter a password to log in to your computer or mobile device
  • Back up all of your data. Regularly backing up your data on a CD or network reduces the stress and other negative consequences that result from losing important information

For more information and useful tools:

ID Theft Resource Center
Dept. of Homeland Security
U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team