What to do if you get an Email message that appears to come from a financial institution: It is important to note that financial institutions are not in the habit of contacting customers by Email unless that customer has signed up for such a service. So, if you receive an Email message from a financial institution that you are not currently doing business with, it is best to disregard the Email message. If you receive an Email from your bank requesting that some action be taken on your part, do not click on any links provided in the Email body. Instead, go to the trusted web address for your bank, sign in using their secure procedures, and verify whether the action needs to be taken or not.
Banks across Maine have started an initiative to help inform their customers about phishing and similar financial crimes. More information can be found on their web site: www.nophishing.org/.
General computer security advise:
Recommended reading about how to secure your home computer:
Excerpt from the above web page:
Task 1 -Install and Use Anti-Virus Programs
Task 2 -Keep Your System Patched
Task 3 -Use Care When Reading Email with Attachments
Task 4 -Install and Use a Firewall Program
Task 5 -Make Backups of Important Files and Folders
Task 6 -Use Strong Passwords
Task 7 -Use Care When Downloading and Installing Programs
Task 8 -Install and Use a Hardware Firewall
Task 9- Install and Use a File Encryption Program and Access Controls 2
Additional advise about avoiding financial crimes:
1. Never use a debit card to conduct online transactions. Use a credit card instead. Credit card companies will allow you to dispute fraudulent transactions, whereas the cash you deposited in your bank account is much more difficult to replace once it is gone.
2. Cancel any credit or debit cards as soon as possible after they are stolen.
3. Check your credit reports at least annually. The three credit report bureaus are:
° Equifax www.equifax.com
° TransUnion www.transunion.com
° Experian www.experian.com
You can obtain a free credit report by visiting: https://www.annualcreditreport.com/
4. Requests that a Fraud Alert be placed on your credit reports if you believe you are the victim of identity theft.
5. Never wire transfer money overseas to a person you do not know.
6. Shred financial documents that contain account information instead of throwing them in the garbage.
Resources for Parents
Help teach your kids how to be safe online. The following resources contain interactive content on topics such as Social Networking, Identity Theft, and Child Exploitation:
National Crime Prevention Council: http://www.ncpc.org/