Prevent Fraud and ID Theft
Online Financial Security, Preventing Fraud & Identity Theft
Can I protect myself from fraud?
You should be aware of several simple security tips to keep in mind:
- Act quickly if you suspect fraud. If you believe someone is trying to commit fraud by pretending to be Vista Bank, please contact us immediately.
- Never give out your personal information (Social Security number, PINs, credit card numbers, etc.) or grant permission to set up accounts, user names or passwords that provide access to your funds (such as vistabank.com or Bill Pay) to anyone with whom you are not personally familiar whether online, by telephone or in person.
- Use a strong password. Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess and use a different password for each of your online accounts. Use both letters and numbers and a combination of lower case and capital letters, as well special characters.
- Change your vistabank.com password every 90 days. You can do this quickly and easily by logging on and going to the Security page, located under Preferences.
- Leave suspicious sites. If you suspect that a website is not what it purports to be, leave the site immediately. Do not follow any of the instructions it presents.
- Be alert for scam emails. These may appear to come from a trusted business or friend, but actually are designed to trick you into downloading a virus or jumping to a fraudulent website and disclosing sensitive information.
- Don't reply to any email that requests your personal information. Be very suspicious of any email from a business or person that asks for your password, Social Security number, or other highly sensitive information—or one that sends you personal information and asks you to update or confirm it.
- Open emails only when you know the sender. Be especially careful about opening an email with an attachment. Even a friend may accidentally send an email with a virus.
- Be careful before clicking on a link contained in an email or other message. The link may not be trustworthy.
- Do not send sensitive personal or financial information unless it is encrypted on a secure website. Regular emails are not encrypted and are more like sending a post card. Look for the padlock symbol on the bottom bar of the browser to ensure that the site is running in secure mode BEFORE you enter sensitive information.
- Do business only with companies you know and trust.
- Be aware. Phony "look alike" websites are designed to trick consumers and collect their personal information. Make sure that websites on which you transact business post privacy and security statements, and review them carefully.
- Make sure your home computer has the most current anti-virus software. Anti-virus software needs frequent updates to guard against new viruses. Make sure you download the anti-virus updates as soon as you are notified that a download is available.
- Install a personal firewall to help prevent unauthorized access to your home computer. This is especially important if you connect to the Internet via a cable modem or a digital subscriber line (DSL) modem.
- Monitor your transactions. Review your order confirmations, credit card, and bank statements as soon as you receive them to make sure you're being charged only for transactions you made. Immediately report any irregularities in your accounts by calling Vista Bank.
Can I protect myself from Identity Theft?
Identity theft is a serious concern. Here are few steps to remember in order to help you protect your identity and accounts.
- Shred financial documents that contain your personal information before you discard.
- Check your credit report regularly to make sure no unauthorized activity has occurred.
- Protect your personal information (such as your PIN, Social Security number, date of birth, etc.). Do not give it out to any person or company or in an email unless you are familiar with them and you have initiated your communication with them.
- Don't carry unneeded credit cards, your Social Security card, your birth certificate or other personal documents in your purse or wallet.
- Monitor all your bank statements from every credit card every month. Check to see if there is anything that you do not recognize and call the credit grantor to verify that it is truly yours.
How do I protect my home computer?
It's also important to protect your computer at home. Here are few best practices to follow:
- Use and update anti-virus software, which is used not only protect your machine from malicious viruses, but also helps to protect the networks to which you connect.
- Use a firewall to protect the data on your computer from users entering your computer.
- Do not re-use passwords for sensitive systems.
- Prevent Trojans and Spyware from being downloaded.
What is a firewall?
A firewall is a system that is designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. You can implement firewalls in hardware, software, or both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks that are connected to the Internet.
What are Trojans and Spyware?
Free software is available on the Internet, but may contain hidden programs called trojans or trojan horses. Trojans are malicious software programs that are hidden behind other, more desirable software. Trojans which specifically watch your computer activity are called spyware. Ranging from bothersome — popping up ads as you surf the Internet — to more malicious activities such as sending sensitive information to a hacker, spyware can threaten the security of your information. Know and trust a company offering software, and read the user agreement before you agree to download. If an offer seems too good to be true, then there's probably more to it than meets the eye. You can also unintentionally download spyware on your computer by surfing the Web. This type of software automatically installs itself, often without your knowledge or permission. Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer assistance in finding and removing spyware. Your anti-virus vendor may also offer software options to prevent spyware from being installed or from running on your computer.
Additional information about preventing financial fraud can be found at these links.
Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Consumer Protection: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/index.shtml
Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force: http://www.stopfraud.gov/index.html