Cybercrime is undoubtedly one of the fastest-growing crimes in the world and it continues to impact both consumers and businesses from all industries. As we spend more time online, we’re often creating and sharing more of our personal data. And if this data falls into the wrong hands, private and financial information could be at risk.

With cybercriminals persistently looking for new ways to expose security risks, it’s important to be vigilant and take steps to protect yourself. The American Bankers Association pulled together a list of the following tips to keep you safe online:

Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date

Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.

Establish strong passwords

A strong password is at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Watch out for phishing scams

Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources you are not familiar with. For more about Phishing scams, check out our recent blog Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Protect Yourself and Others.

You can report spam to www.ftc.gov/complaint. Please especially report any scam that started with an email and resulted in you losing money.

Protect your accounts by using multi-factor authentication

Some accounts offer extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in to your account, which is called multi-factor authentication. The additional credentials you need to log in to your account fall into two categories:

  • Something you have — like a passcode you get via an authentication app or a security key.
  • Something you are — like a scan of your fingerprint, your retina, or your face.

Multi-factor authentication makes it harder for scammers to log in to your accounts if they do get your username and password.

Recognize and avoid bogus website links

Cybercriminals embed malicious links to download malware onto devices and/or/ route users to bogus websites. Hover over suspicious links to view the actual URL that you are being routed to. Fraudulent links are often disguised by simple changes in the URL. For example: www.ABC-Bank.com vs ABC_Bank.com

Keep personal information personal

Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.

Secure your internet connection

Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it. Consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app to secure and encrypt your communications when connecting to a public Wi-Fi network. (See the Federal Trade Commission’s tips for selecting a VPN app.)

Shop safely

Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure technology. When you are at the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny, locked padlock symbol appears on the page.

Protect yourself and your finances

As a reminder, Minnwest Bank will never call or email asking for your personal information or your log-in credentials. If you receive a text or an email telling you to follow a link and share this personal information, that’s a sign of a hoax. Never click on these links. Access your account only through your app or a browser. If you think you’ve are the victim of a financial scam, call law enforcement and your local branch immediately.

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