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Online Security Tips

There are many different ways your personal information can be stolen electronically – but preventing fraud and identity theft online is possible. Use these simple tips to help create a safer virtual environment for yourself and your family.

Password Protection

Preventing identity theft online starts with having a secure password.
  • Never share your passwords or PINs with anyone.
  • Never write your passwords down where they could be easily found by others.
  • When creating passwords, don't use information that could be easily linked to you (like your birth date, Social Security number, phone number, or the names of pets or hobbies).
  • Use passwords that contain both letters and numbers, preferably not recognizable words (example: 7djskDer)
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides helpful password tips at
  • Use a unique password for each system. Always use a different password for each system you access.
  • Change your online account passwords often. We recommend that you change your passwords every 30 days.

Online Security

  • If you are providing financial information or placing an order online, be sure the site is secure. Look for a URL that begins with "https://" and the "closed padlock" (secure lock) in the lower right hand corner of your browser.
  • Do business only with financial institutions and online merchants that you know and trust.
  • Watch out for copycat sites that may try to look like a financial institution. Be sure you are using the correct web address for your bank.
  • Don't reply to any e-mail or pop-up message that requests you update or provide personal information.
  • Never leave your computer unattended while using any online banking or investing service.
  • Always log off completely and close your browser when you are finished with a secure session.
  • Only access your personal financial information from a computer you "trust." Internet kiosks and cyber cafes are not as secure as your personal computer.
  • Make sure your computer is up-to-date with security patches for your operating system and applications. Windows users should turn the Auto-Update feature on. Security patches may be found at vendor's websites. Check the sites periodically as these patches are frequently updated.
  • Consider using a personal firewall to prevent hackers from invading your personal computer, especially if you are using DSL or a cable modem to access the Internet. A firewall can make you virtually "invisible" online and will help to block out communications from unauthorized sources.
  • If you use wireless networking, make sure to turn on all security features such as WPA encryption. Change the default password and SSID on your wireless router.

e-Mail Safety

Learn how to prevent identity theft online by using the latest techniques in e-mail safety.
  • If an offer received via e-mail or on a website sound too good to be true, it probably is.
  • E-mail is not secure. Never e-mail personal financial information such as account numbers or your Social Security number.
  • Don't open e-mail or attachments from senders you don't know. And even when you know the source, exercise caution. Attachments may be Trojan Horse programs that compromise your computer's security.
  • Beware of e-mail scams. Never respond to unsolicited e-mail or click a link within a suspicious e-mail asking you to validate your account information or provide personal information.
  • Use e-mail filtering software to screen for "spam" and identify suspect messages.
  • Turn off the "preview" function of your e-mail program. The feature can be a security risk.
  • Use secure messaging when it's available. Our Online Banking application has a secure messaging feature available once you have successfully logged in.