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Privacy & Protection

Online Protection

Protect Your Computer and Your Privacy

Online and Email Safety
  1. Malware - Email commonly transports malware (malicious software) that can result in identity fraud or computer damage. Malware describes any program designed to cause harm. Some common types of malware include viruses, worms and trojans.
  2. Phishing - Phishing also threatens email users. It is a type of email fraud in which the perpetrator poses as a legitimate, trustworthy, business in order to acquire personal and sensitive information, like passwords or financial data.
  3. Spyware - A method used to capture data by forcing a download of malicious software onto your computer while surfing the internet. Once downloaded, the software runs in the background without your knowledge and captures your keystrokes often leading to personal information or even logon credentials. Thieves then use this information to further gain access to various things such as your bank accounts, online banking, credit cards or even social media sites which then leads to identity theft.

Following some simple guidelines can help you safeguard your email environment.

  • Never include sensitive information in an email.
  • Never open or respond to SPAM (unsolicited bulk email messages)
  • Never click on links within an email
  • Don't open attachments from strangers
  • Don't open attachments with odd extensions
  • Never give out your email address to unknown websites

The following are best practices for browsing the Internet safely and securely.

  • Be selective about where you surf
  • Use a secure web browser
  • Select strong passwords
  • Don't choose "Remember My Password"
  • Don't use public computers for sensitive transactions
  • Use only secure websites when shopping or banking online. Be sure the web address is "https." The "s" means that the website is encrypted and secure. Make sure to "verify" the security of a website by clicking on the "verified by" logo.
  • Log off when you are done using web sites that require a User ID and Password
  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your computer. Enable the firewall to protect your computer. Keep your operating system and all other software up to date by installing patches/updates immediately. Software vendors release such updates to fix security issues that have been identified, therefore keeping your system up to date lowers your risk.

Action To Take When Your Identity Is Stolen

If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft, act immediately! Follow the steps below to ensure the best possible recovery.

  • Contact your Bank - Call or visit your bank immediately. Request to close all accounts and debit/credit cards held by the bank. The bank may require you to complete a "Notification of ID Theft" form. Be sure to bring as much information as possible to assist in the process of eliminating future threats.
  • Contact your Credit Card Company - Contact all your credit card companies to report the suspicion of identity theft. Close all cards and request the activity on your cards to see if any attempts to use the cards have been made.
  • Review your Credit Reports - The bank recommends using to order a free annual credit report from each of the three credit bureaus. This site is provided by the credit bureaus to assist you in monitoring your credit for reasons such as identity theft.
  • Contact the Credit Bureaus - Contact each of the credit bureaus and request to establish an alert with each. The following is the contact information for each bureau's fraud division:
    P.O. Box 740250
    Atlanta, GA 30374
    P.O. Box 1017
    Allen, TX 75013
    P.O. Box 6790
    Fullerton, CA 92634
  • Contact the FTC - Contact the Federal Trade Commission to report all attempted and/or suspicious activity by completing a FTC affidavit. The FTC can be contacted via the internet at or 1-877-438-4338.