Submitted by Northwest Bank
The busy holiday shopping season is right around the corner, and Northwest Bank is reminding consumers of best practices to consider for added protection in today’s digital age.
According to the FBI and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, cybercrimes increase each year during major holidays. And with consumers spending more than $200 billion in online holiday shopping in 2021, cybersecurity remains a top concern heading into the upcoming holiday season.
“At Northwest, our customers’ security is our No. 1 priority,” said Lance Spencer, chief information security officer, Northwest Bank. “As cybersecurity crimes continue to increase, it is imperative for online banking users to exercise caution and remain vigilant.”
Northwest encourages customers to take the following measures to avoid becoming a cybercrime victim this holiday season:
•Never click on links or open attachments in suspicious emails – doing so could install malicious software or download a virus to your computer or mobile device. An email that looks like it came from someone you know doesn’t necessarily mean it did, and could be a phishing attempt.
•Ignore unsolicited communication from individuals claiming to be from your bank. It’s always best to disconnect the call or ignore the text. Then, call your bank immediately using a phone number from a known source, such as the contact details within your online banking account or the phone number listed within your bank statement.
•Never send personal information over instant messaging, text or email.
•Don’t use the same user ID and password to access different websites. Instead, use passwords that are long, unique and randomly generated. Strong passwords include one uppercase letter, one lowercase letter, at least one number and 11 or more characters.
•Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), also known as two-factor or two-step authentication. They all mean the same thing: requiring a password, combined with an extra step, when trusted websites and apps ask you to confirm you’re really who you say you are.
•Update the operating system on your mobile phones, tablets and laptops. Update your applications – including web browsers – on all your devices, too. This will ensure you have the latest protection from vulnerabilities.
•Monitor your accounts for any unusual activity.
Additionally, for those who become a victim of identity theft, Northwest recommends the following next steps:
•Visit or call your financial institution immediately.
•File an identity theft complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online at www.consumer.ftc.gov or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (438-4338).
•Contact the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit report:
√ Equifax: 1-800-525-6285
√ Experian: 1-888-397-3742
√ TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289
•File a police report, which is important to protect yourself if an ID thief starts using your information to commit crimes.
Visit northwest.com for more information.