How We Protect Personal Financial Information
Keeping your personal financial information secure and confidential is one of our most important responsibilities. That’s why we operate under a detailed and rigorous information security policy. We value your trust and understand that handling your financial information with care is paramount to maintaining that trust. Your information remains secure because our computer systems are protected in the following ways:
- Computer anti-virus protection detects and prevents viruses from entering our computer network systems.
- Firewalls block unauthorized access by individuals or networks. Firewalls are one way we protect our computer systems that interact with the Internet.
- Secure transmissions are provided through Online Banking, giving you peace of mind that your communications with us are always private.
The number and sophistication of fraudulent scams sent out to consumers is continuing to increase dramatically. While online banking is widely considered to be as safe as or safer than in-branch or ATM banking, as a general rule you should be very careful about giving out your personal financial information over the Internet. Remember, no reputable financial institution will ever request your personal information via e-mail.
How You Can Help to Protect Your Personal Information
Because you can control the information you choose to release, you are the single best person to protect your personal information. Your personal information is present on mail, credit cards, identification documents, and electronically on your computer. Protecting this information is the first step in reducing your risk of identity theft and fraud. Criminals trying to steal your information can be very clever, and new scams are being created continuously. However, you can help protect yourself and your finances by following the following basic guidelines:
- Install anti-spyware, anti-virus, and a personal firewall on your computer. Spyware and viruses are both malicious programs that are loaded onto your computer without your knowledge. Whether the goal of these programs is to capture or destroy information, to ruin the performance of your computer, or to bombard you with advertising, you don’t want them. Viruses spread by infecting computers and then replicating. Spyware disguises itself as a legitimate application and embeds itself into your computer, to monitor your activity and collect information.
- Also be wary of “Pop-Ups” which are the advertisements that “pop-up” in a separate browser window. When you click on some of these pop-ups, it’s possible that you’re also downloading “spyware” or “adware.” Sometimes, criminals create pop-up ads that look like they come from a respected financial institution and ask you to enter personal financial information, but Peoples Bank of Moniteau County will never ask you to verify personal financial information in pop-ups.
- There are many software products available that will help you prevent criminals from gaining access to your computer and stealing your personal information. A properly protected computer will provide you with secure access to your financial information and combat the efforts of criminals trying to gain access to your activities.
- Be aware of fraudulent e-mails and websites. Sometimes criminals may send you e-mail that looks like it has come from Peoples Bank of Moniteau County. These phony e-mails ask you to go to a website that also looks like our site and provide your personal account information. Some of these phony e-mails even caution that if you don’t do this, your account may be suspended. But the website is also a fake, and this is a fraud attempt. This is the most common type of online fraud, and is called “phishing and spoofing.” Criminals send these phony e-mail messages or direct someone to a fraudulent website for one goal, to steal personal and financial information. If you should ever receive an e-mail that appears to be suspicious, do not reply to it or click on the link it provides – simply delete it.
- Be suspicious of any e-mail with urgent requests for personal financial information. Phishers have been known to include upsetting or enticing (but false) statements in their e-mails to get people to react immediately. More recently, some phishers have toned down their language, as e-mail recipients have become more aware of the use of this tactic. Either way, the e-mail typically asks for information such as user names, passwords, credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, etc.
- Be careful of e-mails that are not personalized and/or may contain spelling errors and/or awkward syntax and phrasing. Many phishing e-mails are sent in great bulk and, therefore, are not personalized. If you are suspicious of an e-mail claiming to be from your institution that is not personalized, call your institution before responding. Many also are being sent from other countries from individuals for whom English is a foreign language, thus resulting in misspelled words and awkward syntax and phrasing.
- Be careful of personalized phony e-mails that ask for personal financial information. Be suspicious of any e-mail that contains some personal financial information, such as a bank account number, and asks for other information, such as PIN. Peoples Bank of Moniteau County will never ask for or send you personal financial information by e-mail.
Identifying phony e-mail messages is not always easy. Sometimes, they may ask you to reply directly, or provide a link that takes you to a website that appears legitimate but is not. In either case, these phony e-mail messages generally ask you to provide sensitive personal, financial, or account information. Other tips for spotting phony e-mails is as follows:
- Urgent appeals claim that your account may be closed if you fail to confirm, verify, or authenticate your personal information immediately. Financial institutions will not ask you to verify information in this way.
- Requests for security information claim that the bank has lost important security information and needs to update it online. Financial institutions will not ask you to verify information in this way.
- Typos and other errors are often the mark of fraudulent e-mails or websites. Be on the lookout for: typographical or grammatical errors; awkward, stilted, or inappropriate writing; and poor visual or design quality.
- Too-good-to-be-true offers are often just that. Don’t get mixed up in fraudulent activity by believing e-mails or web advertisements that offer to help you earn money by transferring cash.
- Do not use links in an e-mail to get to any Web page. Instead, call the bank on the telephone to confirm the address, or log onto the Web site directly by typing in the Web address in your browser. And never complete forms in e-mail messages that ask for personal financial information. Peoples Bank of Moniteau County would never ask you to complete such a form within an e-mail message.
- Only communicate information, such as credit card numbers or account information, via a secure Web site or the telephone. When submitting financial information to a Web site, look for the padlock or key icon at the bottom of your browser, and make sure the Internet address begins with “https.” A secure Web server designation can be found by checking the beginning of the Web address in your browser’s address bar – the address should begin https://… rather than just http://… While you can not be completely sure the Web site is secure when its address starts with “https,” you can be sure the Web site is secure when its address starts with “https,” you can be sure the Web site is not secure when it does not start with “https.”
- Regularly log on to your online accounts and check your statements to ensure that all transactions are legitimate. One of the real advantages of banking online is being able to regularly review your account for unauthorized or unusual activity. If anything is suspicious, contact us immediately.
- Ensure that your browser is up to date and security patches applied. Always visit your browser’s home page to download the latest security updates even if they don’t alert you to do so.
Other things that you can do to protect you information security on a broader basis, not just electronically, are as follows:
- Carry only necessary identification with you. Don’t carry your Social Security card or birth certificate. Both of these items would make it very easy for a criminal to steal your identity.
- Treat your credit and debit cards like cash.
- Make copies of all of the financial information that you carry with you daily and store the copies in a safe place.
- Never provide personal information unless you have initiated the contact and have confirmed the business or person’s identity.
- Be cautious of telephone and door-to-door solicitations.
- Be skeptical of offers that seem too good to be true – they usually are.
- Reduce the amount of post office mail you receive that displays personal information.
- Shred unnecessary financial documents immediately before throwing them away.
- Sign up for direct deposit to have your funds put directly in your account without the need for paper checks.
- Opt-out of pre-approved credit card offers by dialing 1-888-567-8688. This will communicate your preference to all three of the major credit bureaus.