Education Center


Protecting Yourself Online

Though the internet has many advantages, it can also make users vulnerable to fraud, identity theft and other scams. According to a Norton Cybercrime Report, 556 million adults worldwide were victims of cybercrime in 2012. The American Bankers Association recommends 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.

Set 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. 

More Information on Phishing

Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at– and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email.

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.

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.

Read the site’s privacy policies.

  • Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don’t see or understand a site’s privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

Be wary of pop-ups or ads offering free security scans.

  • Many messages are designed to scare you into believing your device is infected so you will purchase their service. These scams may actually end up causing you money and possibly cause you to download malware.

Mobile Banking Safety Tips

Be proactive in securing the mobile device itself. Depending on what security options are available on your device,create a "strong" password (consisting of unusual combinations of upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols) or PIN (with random numbers instead of, say, 1234 or the last four digits of your Social Security number)and periodically change it. Also, never leave your mobile device unattended and make sure you have the "time-out" or "auto-lock" feature that secures your mobile device when it is left unused for a certain period of time.

Be careful about where and how you conduct transactions. Don't use an unsecured Wi-Fi network, such as those found at coffee shops, because fraud artists might be able to access the information you are transmitting or viewing. Also, don't send account numbers or other sensitive information through regular e-mails or text messages because those are not necessarily secure.

Take additional precautions in case your device is lost or stolen. Check with your wireless provider in advance to find out about features that enable you to remotely erase content or turn off access to your device or account if you lose your phone. Quickly contact your financial services providers to let them know about the loss or theft of your device. Notifying your bank quickly will help prevent or resolve problems with unauthorized transactions.

Research any application("app") before downloading it. Just because the name of an app resembles the name of your bank —or of another company you're familiar with — don't assume that it is the official one of that bank or company. It could be a fraudulent app designed to trick users into believing that the service is legitimate.

Be on guard against unsolicited e-mails or text messages appearing to link to a financial institution's Web site. Those could be "phishing" messages containing some sort of urgent request (such as a warning that you need to "verify" bank account or other personal information) or an amazing offer (one that is "too good to be true") designed to lead you to a fake Web site controlled by thieves.

Financial Abuse of the Elderly

It’s more common than you think!

The FDIC offers the information below on how to spot and prevent financial abuse. As always, contact us at Peoples Bank if you suspect a financial crime is being committed against an elderly person.

  • Be careful with Powers of Attorney. The appointed person can step in and do everything you can do, including taking money from your account and borrowing money in your name.
  • Protect your personal financial information. NEVER give out your Social Security Number, bank account numbers, passwords, or other information unless YOU call a company. Always shred any paper documents before putting them in the trash or recycle bins.
  • Monitor your bank account and credit card activity every month. If you see anything that you did not do, contact the bank or credit card company immediately.
  • Take your time when deciding on a major financial decision or investment. If you don’t fully understand any part of the transaction, contact your attorney or financial advisor for help BEFORE you sign anything. If the person pressures you to sign anything, that is a RED FLAG to stop and ask someone else.

Again, if you have any questions about your bank account activity, etc., call us at Peoples Bank for information.