New technologies provide us with a wealth of information, more conveniences and faster services-right at our fingertips. They also present opportunities for hackers to access our personal information.
Online banking accounts - whether accessed through your phone, tablet or PC - are potential targets for fraudulent activities. U.S. banks deploy some of the toughest cyber protection available to commercial industries and the financial industry actively monitors on line and offline banking activities to detect fraud. Standard precautions at Heritage Bank and other financial organizations include:
• Anti-virus protection on bank computers
• Firewalls & website encryption
• Two-factor authentication
• Fraud monitoring
• Text alerts
Despite all our efforts, sometimes customers unwittingly leave themselves open to cyber criminals by neglecting some simple precautions or falling for a scam. Take a few minutes to review our online banking safety tips and the red flags we should all be on guard against.
5 Online Banking Safety Tips
• Try to Avoid Public WiFi: Convenience doesn't always equal safety. Though you may enjoy browsing the internet at your favorite coffee shop while using its "free" WiFi, it's recommended that you avoid logging into any apps or websites that require your personal information.
• Check for Security Updates: Whether it's your smartphone, tablet, or computer, be sure you have your security software notifications set to alert you the next time there is a new update. Be sure that the security updates include patches, as this provides codes to help cover any security vulnerabilities on your device.
• Monitor Card Activity: Whether you use a debit or credit card regularly, be sure you are actively monitoring its activity. Keeping an eye on your accounts will allow you to spot suspicious charges.
• Use The Digital Tools Your Bank Offers: Heritage Bank offers customers several tools to simplify monitoring your accounts and cards.
o CardGuard® allows you to turn your debit card off and on from your smartphone, set spending limits, monitor or block types of transactions or certain merchants, and restrict transactions to a geographic area.
o Heritage Bank Mobile App Enhancements available in the summer of 2022 will also enable users to tap into deep details in real time, like the address of the business where the card was used, the website, the time of the charge and the amount. Users will also be able to report lost or stolen debit cards with a few taps on their smart devices.
o Keep the contact information linked to your accounts up-to-date. You’ll receive alerts from the bank without delay. Updating your email address and other contact information is as simple as logging into your online banking account.
o Sign up for alerts for the account activity you most want to track. At Heritage Bank, we offer SecureAlerts, an easy-to-set-up or adjust digital tool available for free to all digital banking customers. Customize settings to monitor a wide range of account activity and send alerts via text, email or secure messaging.
• Beware of Scammers Posing As Your Bank: Some of the slyest scams are the ones where criminals pose convincingly as your bank in order to gain access to your accounts or cards. Beware of what banks won’t ask or do when engaging with customers:
o Banks won’t use “act now,” high pressure language or scare tactics when engaging with customers.
o Banks will not ask customers for sensitive account information - we already have that. We also won’t ask for passwords or your social security number. If a bank asks for your PIN or a login code the bank has texted to you, that’s a red flag.
o Your bank will not ask you to visit an unfamiliar website or direct you to call a number different than the one listed on your card to handle debit or credit card issues.
o Treat bank communications containing multiple types, grammatical errors or unprofessional language with suspicion. Also, be careful about clicking on links in suspicious emails or texts from your bank.
To learn more about fraud and scams happening in your community, go to Fraud & How to Prevent It to learn more and to sign up for fraud alerts.
If you suspect you’ve been targeted by a scammer, contact your Heritage Banker. Whether you bank with us or not, think of us as your friendly neighbor available to listen, looking out for your best interests and never scoffing at your suspicions.