Financial Safety Tips
Keeping your financial information confidential is extremely important. Take advantage of the following tips to help keep all of your information secure.
- Remember to change your passwords every so often.
- When choosing a password, include numbers and letters if possible and always try to stay away from common names or phrases. Do not use the same password for several different accounts.
- Remember to log off or sign off after viewing your bank account activity online.
- Do not register a computer for repeated use if you are using a public computer or someone else's computer to view your online banking.
- Keep your PIN confidential. If you have shared your PIN for any reason, have your PIN changed.
- When using your debit card, select credit when possible. This will not affect the transaction, but lessens the chances of someone tracking your PIN and accessing your financial information, as well as enabling consumer protections provided by Reg E.
General Account Information
- Never provide your account number or social security number unless you initiated the phone call.
- If you see suspicious activity on your account, contact the Bank right away.
- Click here to view more tips from OnGuardOnline.gov.
Avoid Financial Scams
- Use extreme caution when you receive a phone call or text asking for personal information such as your social, or any information related to your finances.
- Be cautious of letters in the mail that contain checks. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Calls made in regards to your BTH Bank debit card will be made by BTH Bank only.
Online Banking Safety
Ensure that the computer systems you use for online banking are secure. Here are BTH Bank's recommendations on steps you can take to secure your systems and avoid online threats.
Online Banking Fraud Prevention Best Practices
The following are BTH Bank's recommendations for securing computer systems used for online banking:
- Be suspicious of emails purporting to be from a financial institution, government department, or other agency requesting account information, account verification, or banking access credentials such as usernames, passwords, PIN codes, and similar information. Opening file attachments or clicking on web links in suspicious emails could expose your system to malicious code that may hijack your computer.
- Never provide sensitive or personal information in response to an email message, even if it appears to be from BTH Bank. We will never request confidential information via unsecure communications like email. If you are uncertain whether BTH Bank has actually requested the information, contact us by telephone.
- Never send confidential banking information to anyone using regular email. Regular email is not a secure channel for communication.
- Install a dedicated, actively managed firewall, especially if using a broadband or dedicated connection to the Internet, such as DSL or cable. A firewall limits the potential for unauthorized access to your network and computers. Create a strong password with at least 10 characters that includes a combination of mixed case letters, numbers and special characters.
- Use a different password for each website that is accessed.
- Change your password a few times each year even if the website does not require it.
- Install commercial anti-virus and desktop firewall software on all computer systems. Free software may not provide protection against the latest threats compared with an industry standard product.
- Ensure virus protection and security software are updated regularly.
- Ensure computers are patched regularly, particularly operating systems and key applications with security patches. It may be possible to sign up for automatic updates for the operating system and many applications.
- Consider installing spyware detection programs.
- Clear the browser cache before starting an Online Banking session in order to eliminate copies of web pages that have been stored on the hard drive. How the cache is cleared will depend on the browser and version you are using. This function is generally found in the browser's preferences menu.
- Verify use of a secure session in the browser for all online banking. A secure session's web address will begin with "https", not "http".
- Avoid using automatic login features that save usernames and passwords for online banking.
- Disable auto-complete features on your computer.
- Never leave a computer unattended while using any online banking or investing service.
- Never access banking or other financial services information at Internet cafes, public libraries, or other unsecured wireless systems. Unauthorized software may have been installed to trap account number and sign on information, leaving you vulnerable to possible fraud. Remember that BTH Bank has secure computers available at each of their locations for customers to use to access online banking.
- Immediately let BTH Bank know of any suspicious transactions, particularly ACH or wire transfers. There is a limited recovery window for these transactions and immediate escalation may prevent further loss.
Prevent Fraud and ID Theft
These simple steps can help protect you against fraudulent activity and identity theft. Follow these best practices for greater protection of your identity and other sensitive information.
How do I protect myself against fraud?
You should be aware of several simple security tips listed below:
- Act quickly if you suspect fraud. If you believe someone is trying to commit fraud by pretending to be BTH Bank, please contact us immediately.
- Never give out your personal information (Social Security number, PINs, credit card number, etc.) or grant permission to set up accounts, usernames, or passwords that provide access to your funds (such as bthbank.com or Bill Pay) to anyone with whom you are not personally familiar whether online, by telephone or in person.
- Use a strong password. Choose passwords that are difficult for others to guess and use a different password for each of your online accounts. Use both letters and numbers and a combination of lower case and capital letters, as well as special characters.
- Change your bthbank.com online banking password every 90 days. You can do this quickly and easily by logging on and going to "Security Settings" under "User Services".
- Leave suspicious sites. If you suspect that a website is not what it purports to be, leave the site immediately. Do not follow any of the instructions it presents.
- Be alert for scam emails. These may appear to come from a trusted business or friend, but actually are designed to trick you into downloading a virus or jumping to a fraudulent website and disclosing sensitive information.
- Do not reply to any email that requests your personal information. Be very suspicious of any email from a business or person that asks for your password, Social Security number, or other highly sensitive information - or one that sends you personal information and asks you to update or confirm it.
- Open emails only when you know the sender. Be especially careful about opening an email with an attachment. Even a friend may accidently send an email with a virus.
- Be careful before clicking on a link contained in an email or other message. The link may not be trustworthy.
- Do not send sensitive personal or financial information unless it is encrypted on a secure website. Regular emails are not encrypted and are more like sending a post card.
- Look for the padlock symbol on the bottom bar of the browser to ensure that the site is running in secure mode BEFORE you enter sensitive information.
- Do business only with companies you know and trust.
- Be aware. Phony "look alike" websites are designed to trick consumers and collect their personal information. Make sure that websites on which you transact business post privacy and security statements, and review them carefully.
- Make sure your home computer has the most current anti-virus software. Anti-virus software needs frequent updates to guard against new viruses. Make sure you download the anti-virus updates are soon as you are notified that a download is available.
- Install a personal firewall to help prevent unauthorized access to your home computer. This is especially important if you connect to the Internet via a cable modem or a digital subscriber line (DSL) modem.
- Monitor your transactions. Review your order confirmations, credit card, and bank statements as soon as you receive them to make sure you are being charged only for transactions you made. Immediately report any irregularities in your accounts by calling BTH Bank.
How can I protect myself from identity theft?
Identity theft is a serious concern. Here are a few things to remember in order to help you protect your identity and your accounts:
- Shred financial documents that contain your personal information before you discard.
- Check your credit report regularly to make sure no unauthorized activity has occurred.
- Protect your personal information (such as your PIN, Social Security number, date of birth, etc.). Do not give it out to any person or company or in an email unless you are familiar with the party and have initiated your communication with them.
- Do not carry unneeded credit cards, your Social Security card, your birth certificate or other personal documents in your purse or wallet.
- Monitor all your bank statements from every credit card every month. Check to see if there is anything that you do not recognize and call the credit grantor to verify that it is truly yours.
How do I protect my home computer?
It is also important to protect your computer at home. Here are a few best practices to follow:
- Use and update anti-virus software, which is used not only to protect your machine from malicious viruses, but also helps to protect the networks to which you connect.
- Use a firewall to protect the data on your computer from users entering your computer.
- Do not re-use passwords for sensitive systems.
What is a firewall?
A firewall is a system that is designed to prevent unauthorized access to or from a private network. You can implement firewalls in hardware, software, or both. Firewalls are frequently used to prevent unauthorized Internet users from accessing private networks that are connected to the Internet.
What are Trojans and Spyware?
Free software is available on the Internet, but may contain hidden programs called Trojans or Trojan horses. Trojans are malicious software programs that are hidden behind other, more desirable software. Trojans that specifically watch your computer activity are called spyware. Ranging from bothersome - popping up ads as you surf the Internet - to more malicious activities such as sending sensitive information to a hacker, spyware can threaten the security of your information. Know and trust a company offering software, and read the user agreement before you agree to download. If offer seems too good to be true, then there's probably more to it than meets the eye. You can also unintentionally download spyware on your computer by surfing the Web. This type of software automatically installs itself, often without your knowledge or permission. Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer assistance in finding and removing spyware. Your anti-virus vendor may also offer software options to prevent spyware from being installed or from running on your computer.
Additional information about preventing financial fraud can be found at the links below.