Be a savvy consumer.
Protect yourself by safeguarding your confidential information. Use the following guidelines to help prevent the unthinkable from happening to you.
Mobile and Online Security Guidelines
- Secure your mobile device and computer. Be sure to keep the operating system and application software updated/patched on all of your computers and mobile devices. Be sure to check that any anti-virus/anti-spyware software installed is running and receiving automatic updates. Confirm that your firewall is enabled.
- Password protect your mobile device and computer. It’s the simplest and one of the most important steps to take to secure your mobile device and computer. If you need to create an account with the merchant, be sure to use a strong password. Use at least eight characters, with numbers, special characters, and upper and lower case letters. Adhere to the tenant “a unique password for every unique site.”
- Disable mobile banking on a lost or stolen mobile device. Even though account information is not stored on your device, it’s wise to suspend mobile banking access to your accounts until it’s found or you replace the device. Log in to online banking and disable mobile settings or call us at 866.902.5662 for assistance. When you replace your device, once again update your mobile settings to reinstate access.
- Do not respond to pop ups. When a window pops up promising you cash or gift cards for answering a question or taking a survey, close it by pressing Control + F4 for Windows and Command + W for Macs.
- Do not use public computers or public wireless for your online shopping. Public computers may contain malicious software that steals your card information when you place your order. Additionally, criminals may be intercepting traffic on public wireless networks to steal card numbers and other confidential information.
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, by email, or over the internet unless you have initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with.
- Use unique and complex passwords. Don’t use your child’s name, birth date, your Social Security Number, phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
- Never click on links sent in unsolicited emails. Type in a web address you know. Keep your anti-virus software up to date to protect your home computer.
- Routinely monitor your accounts online at your bank’s, credit card company’s, or other financial institution’s websites.
- Conduct your financial transactions online. Replace paper invoices, statements and checks, with online banking, emailed statements, online bill pay and direct deposit. Avoid mailing checks to pay bills or deposit funds in your banking account.
- Know and trust your online shopping merchants. Limit your online shopping to merchants you know and trust. If you have questions about a merchant, check with the Better Business Bureau or the Federal Trade Commission. Confirm the online seller’s physical address and telephone number in case you have questions or problems.
- Look for “https” when making an online purchase. The “s” in “https” stands for “secure” and indicates that communication with the Web page is encrypted. If you submit your credit card information through an organization’s website, be sure to look for indicators that the site is secure. Look for a padlock or key icon in the browser’s status bar and be sure “https” appears in the website’s address bar before making an online purchase. You should also make sure that your browser software is current and up to date.
- Print your online transactions. Print or save records of your online transactions, including the product description and price, the online receipt, and the emails you send and receive from the seller. Carefully review your card statements as soon as you receive them to confirm that all charges are legitimate. Contact your card company immediately if you have unauthorized charges on your account.
Debit Cardholder Tips
- Use your PIN when making in-store purchases. It’s more secure than a signature-based credit transactions.
- Review your bank statements frequently (daily or weekly) for authorized transactions. Note: Sign up for online banking if you’re not already enrolled to keep on top of your account activity. Enroll now
- Notify Bank Midwest when traveling out-of-state or internationally with your debit card.
General Precautionary Tips
- Only give your Social Security Number only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible. And, don’t carry your Social Security card with you.
- Guard your mail from theft. Use locked collection boxes and promptly remove mail from your mailbox. And, if you’ll be away from home for a period of time, contact the U.S. Postal Service to hold your mail.
- Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills don’t arrive on time, follow up with your creditor. A missing bill could mean identity thieves have taken over your account and changed your billing address to cover their tracks.
- Keep personal information in a safe place. Be cautious about leaving personal information around, especially if you have roommates, guests, employ outside help, or have service work done.
- Shred sensitive documents before disposing of them. Charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and statements that you are discarding, expired charge cards, and credit offers you get in the mail.
- Review your credit information no less than once per year. Request your free annual report. Learn more.