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Fraud Prevention

Steps you can take to protect yourself or your business.

Password & Email Tips

Passwords grant access to online resources such as your bank account, computer, email, or social media. Passwords are designed to limit access to authorized individuals to help protect your privacy and identity. The strength and complexity of your password is an important factor to consider. If passwords are guessed or stolen, someone logging in under your identity could possibly cause problems to your credit, reputation, or financial well-being.

If you have a hard time remembering all of your passwords, a password management system can remove the inconvenience of remembering all your passwords and increase security.

Our suggestions for all passwords: 

  • More than ten (10) characters - the longer the password, the better!
  • Use an uppercase and lowercase alphabetic letter (e.g. a...z)
  • Use numbers (e.g. 1,2,3...) and symbols (e.g. !, #...)
  • Do not use the same password on multiple websites; if you do you should change them
  • Use a password manager to generate passwords for multiple sites

Our suggestions for all email users: 

  • Use two-step authentication whenever possible. This will send you a text message or require an authentication key when you log into your email
  • Use caution when clicking on links in unknown emails
  • Watch out for current phishing schemes and any related emails
  • Use authentication tools whenever available through secure websites

Personal

Monitor your credit report. You should closely review the information on your credit report. If there are any suspicious accounts, you should contact the creditor immediately. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three national credit reporting agencies once a year. To obtain a credit report visit annualcreditreport.com or call (877) 322-8228.

Our Secure Checking Accounts include IDProtect®. This credit montoring service includes Credit File Monitoring, Total Identity Monitoring, Credit Score, up to $10,000 identity fraud expense reimbursement coverage, access to a dedicated fraud specialist, identity theft recovery case plan, and debit and credit card registration.

Find out more about our Secure Checking products here: https://www.choiceone.com/personal-banking/secure-checking  

 

Carefully monitor your bank account, credit card and other statements for any unusual transactions. Review your statements as soon as you receive them. If you notice anything unusual, contact the bank, credit card issuer, or other company that issued the statement right away.

Request a free initial fraud alert on your credit report. An initial fraud alert lasts for 90 days and warns any creditor who orders a credit report during that period that they must not extend new credit in your name without first verifying that you are the applicant. You can renew the initial fraud alert for additional periods of 90 days. If you are a victim of identity theft, you can request an extended fraud alert. To request a fraud alert, call any one of the three national credit reporting agencies: Experian (888) 397-3742; Trans Union (800) 680-7289; or Equifax (800) 525-6285.

You only need to contact one of the three companies to place a fraud alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which will place an alert on their versions of your report, too. If you do not receive a confirmation from a company, you should contact that company directly to place a fraud alert.

You can get more information and guidance from the Federal Trade Commission. If you want additional information or if you suspect someone is using your information for fraudulent activity and want to file a complaint, call the Federal Trade Commission’s Identity Theft Hotline at (877) ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338) or go to ftc.gov/idtheft.

Business

Train employees in security principles. Establish basic security principles within your business for employees - such as strong passwords and Internet guidelines. Establish rules describing how to handle and protect customer information and confidentiality.

Protect information, computers, and networks from cyber attacks. Keep clean machines: having the last security software, web browser, and operating systems are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

Carefully monitor your bank account, credit card and other statements for any unusual transactions. Review your statements as soon as you receive them. If you notice anything unusual, contact the bank, credit card issuer, or other company that issued the statement right away.

Limit employee access to data and information, and limit authority to install software. Do not provide any one employee with access to all data systems.

For more information on precautionary steps to protect your business with cybersecurity, visit fcc.gov/cyberforsmallbiz.