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Personal Security Tips

Managing Passwords and Verification

It’s worth the extra effort to create strong passwords, change them often and keep your login information safe. Follow these guidelines for managing your passwords and authentication.

Create strong passwords

Use passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) that are easy for you to remember, but hard for others to guess. Use a combination of upper case and lower case letters along with numbers and special characters to make your password more secure. Don’t use easy-to-guess birthdays or the names of your children, pets or high school sweetheart. You should also avoid common passwords like sequential numbers or phrases like Password123. Create different passwords for each of your online accounts and change them periodically.

Protect your passwords

Be cautious about sharing your usernames and passwords with people, companies and services – especially when your personal information and money are involved. Never store your passwords in a note, memo or file on your computer or mobile device. If you do need to save your passwords, use a more secure location like a password manager app.

Opt for additional authentication

Many financial institutions like The Federal Savings Bank have two-step or two-factor authentication built into their security solutions, but it’s still smart to enable multi-factor verification on sites and devices where this feature is optional. Multi-factor authentication offers another layer of protection by asking for an extra piece of information in addition to your password, like a security code that’s sent via text or a fingerprint ID. You can usually enable two-step verification in your password and security settings.

Multi-factor authentication can take many forms and requires the use of two or three different authentication factors that could include:

  • Something you know – such as a password, PIN or personal security questions.
  • Something you have – like a computer, phone or tablet; a debit or credit card; or a device that generates a security code.
  • Something you are – which includes fingerprints, retinal scans, facial recognition or other biometric information.

Companies use a variety of verification factors, typically based on the degree of risk. They may ask the user to go through these authentication steps every single time they log in or they may use a behind-the-scenes approach that evaluates the risk of suspicious behavior for each interaction before asking for additional authentication.

The Federal Savings Bank uses multiple layers of authentication that may not always be apparent to our customers. If we detect risk, like a login from an unknown device, we may ask for additional verification. This includes asking questions only you would know or sending a security code via email or text.

Security is not a one size fits all solution. Which is why your multi-factor authentication may look different from company to company.

Suspect Fraud? Call The Federal Savings Bank at 877.788.3520, Option 5.

How to Handle Suspicious Messages

Learn more about the types of messages you should be concerned about and how to deal with them.

Don’t respond to “phishing” emails

Criminals send out fake emails that appear to be from real businesses, hoping to reach customers. These emails are called phishing emails. It’s one of the ways criminals try to trick customers into giving personal information like account numbers and passwords. Phishing emails don’t just target bank account holders. Be on the lookout for fake emails from fraudsters pretending to be online retailers, utility companies and other businesses that use secure login systems.

If an email appears to be from The Federal Savings Bank but looks suspicious delete it immediately from your inbox. Do not open email attachments or click links in emails if you do not personally know the sender. Instead of clicking a link in an email, type the URL directly in your browser or use favorites/bookmarks to access the website.

Protect your security code

Fraudsters may call you pretending to be from The Federal Savings Bank and ask for credentials or security code. Don’t be fooled. If you’re suspicious that the call isn’t coming from us, let the person know you’re going to call The Federal Savings Bank yourself to confirm, and then call The Federal Savings Bank at 877.788.3520, Option 5.

Keep in mind

We may need to verify your identity when you call us directly at 877.788.3520, Option 5. To verify it’s you, we might ask questions or send a code to read back to us over the phone. This is the only time we’ll ask for a code over the phone.

Watch out for “smishing” texts

Just like phishing emails, criminals send out fake SMS text messages with a link to a fraudulent website or a phone number to try and collect personal information. The Federal Savings Bank will never ask you to confirm or provide personal information in an unsolicited text.

Do not reply to any suspected smishing texts or click on any links in the text message. If a text appears to be from The Federal Savings Bank but looks suspicious, you can also send scam text messages to 7726 (SPAM) to notify cellphone carriers to have the number blocked.

Beware of suspicious “spoofing” websites

Criminals create fake websites that look like real company websites in order to steal your personal information. Be cautious of links sent to you in emails. Phishing emails and smishing texts include links to these fake sites.

The best way to know that you are going to the real website is to type the URL directly in your browser or use favorites/bookmarks to access the website. As a rule of thumb, look at the website address to be sure it starts with “https” before entering personal information on a site. A green security status bar and padlock icon next to the web address are additional visual indicators that confirm you are on a secure site.

Listen up for “vishing” phone calls

Fraudsters aren’t just using new technology for scams. They still resort to tried-and-true tactics like vishing – an email or voicemail request asking you to call and provide personal information that can be used to access accounts or open new fraudulent accounts. If you suspect vishing, you should look up the organization and contact them directly to ask if the request is legitimate.

Verify online requests for money by friends or contacts

Be extremely wary when people you’re connected to on social networks ask for money through instant message (IM) or email. Fraudsters have been known to hack social networks and assume the identity of real users, then send messages to their contacts stating the person has been robbed or is stranded somewhere and needs you to wire money in order to get home. If you receive one of these requests, contact the person by phone and verify the request is real.

Suspect Fraud? Call The Federal Savings Bank at 877.788.3520, Option 5.

Using Social Media and Sharing Information Safely

Keep yourself safe and protect your personal information online by following these security tips.

Protect your personal information

Before responding to any request for personal, financial or account information, make sure you know who is asking and why they need it. Be extra careful if a request is made with an urgent or threatening tone. Criminals use this trick to get personal information to access your accounts or commit identity theft.

The Federal Savings Bank will never send you an email asking for personal information, account information, a username or password.

Follow up on suspicious requests

If you’re suspicious of any request, you should first confirm that the contact information is legitimate by checking your account documents or visiting the company’s web site. Then directly contact the company whose name is used in the request and ask if the request is valid.

If you think you provided personal or account information in response to a fraudulent email or website, be sure to change your password and any other authentication information like challenge questions and secret questions. Also, notify the financial institution where you have the account and monitor your account activity frequently.

Get more information about  what to do if fraud and identity theft happens to you.

Engage in social media responsibly

Think carefully before you provide personal details on social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Never share information that financial institutions might use to identify you like your Social Security number (including the last 4 digits), date of birth, personal phone number, home address, where you were born or schools you attended. Criminals might use this information to gain access to your account or use it to open accounts in your name.

5 tips to make your social media experience safer:

  • Don’t post photos that might include your debit/credit card, driver’s license or other personal information.
  • Turn off location tags on social sites and post vacation photos after your trip to avoid alerting thieves that you are away from home.
  • Be selective about people you connect with on social media and only share posts with friends and known connections.
  • For mobile banking and other secure transactions, use your phone’s data plan to connect wirelessly when entering passwords, credit card information or other details that you need to keep secure.
  • Remember that if it’s online once, it’s online forever.

Suspect Fraud? Call The Federal Savings Bank at 877.788.3520, Option 5.

Virus Protection for Your Devices

Find out how to keep your devices, software and files safe from online threats.

Use anti-virus and anti-malware software on your devices

This protects your computer against malicious software (also known as  “malware”) and computer viruses. It’s smart to have both types of protection to cover non-virus malware such as worms, Trojan horses and spyware. Set up your security software to automatically update daily and scan all email attachments and browser downloads.

Keep your personal computer, phone and other devices updated

Updated software helps protect against vulnerabilities. Install updates and use the most current versions of your operating system, software and web browser.

Avoid downloading files from unknown sources

Malicious software (or malware) and computer viruses can be hidden in email attachments and files downloaded from the Internet, including apps. Before you download anything, make sure you trust the sender or app provider.

Even when you receive files from friends and family, use anti-virus software to scan the files before opening them. Only download apps from your device’s authorized app provider like the App Store℠ and Google Play™. Before downloading an app, make sure you know and trust the app publisher or seller.

Suspect Fraud? Call The Federal Savings Bank at 877.788.3520, Option 5.

Using Wi-Fi and Public Computers Securely

Learn how to protect yourself when using a shared computer or public Wi-Fi and how accessing your accounts securely online can keep your safer.

Verify a site’s security

Make sure you’re on a secure site before you enter your username and password. The address of a secure site begins with ”https,” rather than ”http.” It’s OK for a home page to begin with ”http” but you should always make sure you’re on an ”https” page before entering your password.

A green security status bar and padlock icon next to the web address are additional visual indicators that confirm you are on a secure site. You can read the security details of a site by selecting the padlock icon located at the top or bottom of your browser window. View the security certificate and make sure it matches the site.

Be cautious with public Wi-Fi and shared computers

We all need to stay connected and do business while we’re on the go, but it can be challenging to keep our personal information protected. Public Wi-Fi and shared computers are easy targets for hotspot hackers and a dangerous place to manage your banking and finances online. Protect yourself in the following ways:

  • Always try to make financial transactions, like banking and shopping, on a trusted network with your own device that’s protected by security software.
  • Don’t set up your devices to automatically connect to Wi-Fi and turn off your sharing settings when possible. This helps protect against security risks in public spaces.
  • When you are using Public Wi-Fi or a shared computer, avoid transactions that require you to enter personal information.
  • For mobile banking and other secure transactions, use your phone’s data plan to connect wirelessly when entering passwords, credit card information or other details that you need to keep secure.

Log out of apps that use personal information

No matter where you are, remember to log out when you finish using apps that require you to login with personal information such as banking and bill pay apps. This will help prevent other users from accessing your information.

Use secure online services for extra protection

Going paperless and using online-only access can help ensure that your accounts stay more secure. Here are ways you can use online services to reduce your risk of fraud.

  • Access your accounts online to help you to detect identity crime earlier than if you only received paper statements monthly.
  • Set up email alerts for all financial account activity to identify fraud quickly.
  • Receive your statements online instead of in the mail to reduce the risk of mail fraud.

Suspect Fraud? Call The Federal Savings Bank at 877.788.3520, Option 5.

Mobile Security

Consider these tips to help you stay safe and secure when you’re using mobile banking apps.

Manage your privacy settings

Monitor how apps use your personal information. Make sure you feel comfortable with the way they use these details. For example, some apps share your location and phone number with other people in your vicinity.

Password protect your mobile device

Set your device to lock when it’s not being used. This will help prevent someone from getting access to your personal data.

Install software to find and remotely wipe your mobile phone

This software can help you locate your phone via GPS or remotely remove all data from your device, if it’s lost or stolen. There are a variety of security apps available that offer this feature.

Don’t modify your phone’s operating system

This is also known as  jailbreaking, which violates your device’s warranty and exposes it to more security threats.

Question QR codes

QR codes (short for “quick response codes”) are images that contain data that can be read by your phone’s camera. Scammers have been known to create fake QR codes that automatically download malware onto your mobile device. Protect yourself by not scanning QR codes posted in public spaces. Fraudsters will often place a fraudulent QR code sticker on top of a legitimate advertisement like a billboard or transit ad.

Suspect Fraud? Call The Federal Savings Bank at 877.788.3520, Option 5.

Offline Protections

You can reduce your chances of falling victim to fraud and identity theft with the help of these everyday safety tips.

Secure your personal information

Only carry the identification you need on a daily basis in your wallet, purse, or briefcase. Don’t carry your Social Security card with you. It’s a good idea to make copies of all of the information that you carry (credit cards, driver’s license and insurance cards) and keep the copies in a secure place such as a safe, locked drawer, or safe deposit box. If they are stolen or you lose them, you’ll have a record of who to call.

Protect your family’s Social Security numbers

Be cautious when asked for your or someone in your family’s Social Security number. Always verify the reason it is required. Never write your Social Security number on your checks. Keep documents that contain your Social Security number in a secure place such as a locked drawer. This should include documents belonging to your children, parents and other members of your family.

Receive account statements online

Sign up for online statements (when available) to reduce your chances of having your identity stolen through the mail. If a company doesn’t offer online statements, make sure you review all of your banking, credit card, and auto account paper statements regularly. Reviewing your transactions is the easiest way to catch unknown activity.

Take advantage of direct deposit

Use direct deposit to have paychecks and other recurring deposits placed directly into your accounts. This reduces the risk of a criminal obtaining your account number from a paper check.

Have monthly payments made automatically

For some credit accounts you can enroll in autopay which allows your monthly payments to be withdrawn automatically from your checking or savings account. This helps combat identity theft by removing another paper source that contains your private information.

Manage your mail carefully

Always shred documents that contain personal information instead of placing them in your trashcan or recycling bin. This includes pre-approved credit card offers. Criminals look for personal information in trashcans and use it to access your accounts or open new accounts using your identity. You should also be mindful of documents that could be accessed by babysitters, guests and other people who visit your home.

As an extra precaution, you can opt out of receiving pre-approved credit offers online or by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688).

Check your checks

Store blank and canceled checks securely. Report lost or stolen checks immediately. Use your checks in order and look for check numbers out of order on your statements. A check number out of order could indicate fraud. Use online bill payment or electronic funds transfers instead of writing checks to reduce check fraud.

Keep an eye on your credit

Check your credit report annually. As a consumer you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies once a year. You can request these reports  online.

Protect your credit card, debit card and PIN

Always keep your credit and debit cards in a safe place. If your card is lost or stolen, contact the issuing company immediately. Memorize your PIN code. Do not write it down or share it with anyone including bank employees or police agencies.

Use caution at the ATM

Be aware of your surroundings at the ATM. Make sure others cannot see the keypad while you’re entering your PIN. If you do print a receipt, take it with you and keep it in safe place. The receipt may contain information about your account balance and a partial account number, which may be used for fraud. When you’re done with your receipts, shred them.

Suspect Fraud? Call The Federal Savings Bank at 877.788.3520, Option 5.

Additional Resources

These websites provide additional information related to privacy and security. They are not associated with The Federal Savings Bank , but are helpful consumer resources.

Educate Yourself

Online Privacy and Security

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) partners with other government agencies to provide a wide range of tips that include protecting your computer, teaching children how to stay safe online and using public Wi-Fi networks safely.

FTC Identity Theft Home

The FTC hosts this site as a one-stop national resource to learn about the crime of identity theft. It provides detailed information to help you deter, detect, and defend against identity theft.

FTC Scam Alerts

Scam alerts are the focus of this FTC-sponsored site that helps you stay a step ahead of the latest scam tactics. Get details about recent scams in the news and sign up to receive FTC scam alerts by email.

Free Credit Report Information

The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. Ask a different credit agency for a report every four months to stay up-to-date on your credit status. For example, ask Experian in January, Equifax in May and TransUnion in September.

FDIC Consumer Protection

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) provides a comprehensive resource center for protecting your finances, understanding financial privacy and avoiding identity theft and fraud. This includes an online presentation titled “Don’t Be an Online Victim: How to Guard against Internet Thieves and Electronic Scams” that highlights steps you can take to prevent becoming a victim of financial fraud.

National Cyber Security Alliance

The National Cyber Security Alliance is a public-private partnership focused on promoting Internet security and safe behavior online.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Its mission is to give victims an easy-to-use method to report suspected Internet related crime so that law enforcement agencies across the country have access to these reports to identify trends to solve crime.

Educate Children and Young Adults


Endorsed by the U.S. Congress i-SAFE is a proactive prevention-oriented Internet Safety Education and Outreach program, dedicated to empowering the youth of America to safely and responsibly take control of their online experiences.

FTC Kids Online Safety

A wide range of kids’ online safety issues is covered here. Topics include cyberbullying, staying safe on social networks and mobile security. This site also provides information about parents’ rights under the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

FTC Child Identity Theft

This site focuses on protecting your child’s identity with tips on how to limit the risk of identity theft at school, check credit reports for fraud attempts and repair damage if identity fraud occurs.

Suspect Fraud? Call The Federal Savings Bank at877.788.3520, Option 5.