Protect Your Personal Information:
Because you can control the information you choose to release, you are the best one to protect your personal information. There are some easy ways to do this by keeping anything personal or any account information in a safe place, providing your information only to those you trust and by reducing the amount of mail you receive with your information on it.
It’s okay to be skeptical when providing your personal information. If you can’t verify the identity of the business or person that you may be providing your information to, or if you don’t know why a certain piece of information is needed, you may want to think twice about providing it.
Here are some tips to follow:
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or are sure you know whom you're dealing with.
- Don't carry your Social Security card with you; leave it in a secure place. Carry only the identification and credit and debit cards that you need.
- Don’t put your Social Security number or phone number on your checks.
- Don't put your address, phone number, or drivers license number on credit card sales receipts.
- Do not use your mother’s maiden name as a password for accounts. Make one up.
- Shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, expired charge cards that you're discarding, and credit offers you get in the mail.
- Secure your credit card, bank, and phone accounts with passwords. Avoid using easily available information like birth date, the last four digits of your SSN, or your phone number. When opening new accounts, you may find that many businesses still have a line on their applications for your mother's maiden name. Use a password instead.
- Secure personal information in your home, particularly if you have roommates or hire outside help.
- Promptly remove mail from your mailbox. If you're planning to be away from home and can't pick up your mail, call the U.S. Postal Service to request that your mail be held until you return.
- Ask about information security procedures in your workplace. Find out who has access to your personal information and verify that records are kept in a secure location. Ask about the disposal procedures for those records as well.
- Before revealing any personally identifying information (for example, on an application), find out how it will be used and secured, and whether it will be shared with others. Ask if you have a choice about the use of your information. Can you choose to have it kept confidential?
Secure Your Computer:
Your PC is your first line of defense on the Internet, and with just a couple of tools and some diligence, you can greatly improve your security:
- Make sure your computer has both an anti-spyware protection program that detects and removes spyware and an anti-virus program. Keep both programs updated.
- Be very protective of your personal account information. There are criminals who try to trick you by creating sites that look similar to real sites. The best way to know who you are dealing with is to type the address in your browser address bar, don’t click on a link that’s provided to you in an unfamiliar e-mail.
- If you receive a suspicious email using American Bank’s name and asking for personal or American Bank account information, you can forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to question suspicious emails. We will never send you an email asking for your account number, online ID or password.
- Choose an online ID and password that is difficult for others to guess. If possible, use both letters and numbers, and a combination of lowercase and capital letters. Also, use a different ID and password for each of your online sites.
- Check to see if the browser that you are using has “Auto Complete” turned off. This is a feature that comes with your browser that remembers your ID and password so that once you start typing in your ID, your password fills in automatically for you. We recommend that you turn off this feature for security reasons. If another person should know your ID, then by having your browser fill in the password automatically, that person can now access all of your account information.
- Use a current web browser. Newer browsers are being deployed with your security in mind. See your Frequently Asked Questions section of our website under Online Banking to see our browser recommendations.
- Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources. Some sources may have hidden forms of spyware or viruses that could compromise the security of your computer. You can verify secure sites by double-clicking on the padlock icon located at the bottom of your browser application and reading the site information in the box that appears.
- Activate a pop-up blocker.
- When your computer is not in use, shut it down or disconnect it from the Internet.
- Always sign off from your Online Banking session.
- Standard email is not a secure means of sending sensitive data, such as financial or other personal information. If you need to provide American Bank with sensitive information like your bank account numbers or social security number, contact us by mail, fax, or telephone rather than by e-mail. You can also send us a secure message through our Online Banking product. Within the product, go to Customer Service, Contact Us. Someone will respond to you promptly.
Do not rely on links you receive in email messages to get to a website. Open a new browser window and type in the full address for the site you want to visit.