Guarding Against Account Hijacking

Account Hijacking occurs when a criminal obtains your personal banking information and takes over your bank accounts.  It is the fastest growing form of identity theft, affecting 2 million people every year.
Hijackers may get your information by phishing or with spyware.  Be careful of emails that pretend to be from your bank or someone else you know.  Typically, the e-mail tells you something is wrong with your account and instructs you to click on a link to “fix” the problem.  However, any information you enter once you click that link goes directly to the scammer.  Spyware can also be installed on your computer if you click on a link in an e-mail message from a fraudster, even if you never enter any of your personal information. Some basic safety measures you can use to help protect your computer include:
1. Password—if you use a password that you can easily remember, chances are, it will also be easy for an internet hacker to figure it out.  Avoid names and birthdates or the word “password.”
2. Anti-Virus—Your computer’s anti-virus software is like a vaccine:  it works at first, but you need to keep it up-to-date to guard against new strains.
3. Anti-Spyware—Anti-spyware should be installed and updated as often as anti-virus software.
4. “Phishing”—If you receive an unexpected e-mail, or one that you consider   suspicious, delete it.  Remember:  we will never  e-mail you to ask you to “verify” your information by going to another website.  
If you follow these recommendations, chances are that your account won’t be hijacked, but if you are victimized, early detection is critical.  
1. Check your statements regularly.  Customers who monitor their accounts online discover problems sooner.  Check out our new mobile banking service to help you monitor your    accounts with your cell phone anywhere at any time.
According to one report, people who monitor their accounts online sustained losses that were 1/8 of what people who only use paper statements lost.

2. Check your credit report.  You are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the 3 major credit bureaus.  Go to: for your free report.
As always, if you have questions or concerns, please let us know!

Resources for More Information:
1)    Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Consumer Response Center:
2)    Consumer Guides & Protection:
3)    Internet Crime Complaint Center:
4)    Consumer Fraud (Department of Justice Homepage):
5)    On Guard Online:

Information from:  Financial Education Corporation