In recognition of Data Privacy Week, Peoples Bank and the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) are reminding customers of practical steps to help safeguard their sensitive data and shield against losses in the event of a data breach or compromise.
In the first half of 2022, there were 817 data breaches in the U.S., and combined with data leaks and data exposure, they impacted more than 53 million individuals.
“In our digital world, keeping your personal information secure is of the utmost importance,” said Al Vermeer, Peoples Bank CEO. “We focus on educating our customers on the proper protocols to lessen their exposure to data breaches. While there’s no magic remedy to eliminate every threat, by working with our customers our goal is to help turn the tide and reduce any long-term impact.”As a community bank, Peoples Bank uses sophisticated technology and monitoring techniques, intricate firewalls and other methods to secure customer data. Additionally, we practice stringent privacy policies and train employees to treat confidential information with the upmost of care, meeting or exceeding federal and state mandates.
Reducing Your Risk
While there is no foolproof way to avoid online identity theft, you can also help minimize your risk by:
- Restricting use of public Wi-Fi and computers—These networks may be convenient but are not as secure. If you must make purchases while away from your home or work network, use a virtual private network or mobile hotspot.
- Limiting disclosed information—Never respond to requests for personal information such as your banking ID, account number, username or password, even if they appear to originate from your bank, government agencies or officials or companies with which you have a relationship.
- Taking advantage of security features—Update your computer security software and apply software updates to your computer system, mobile devices, web browsers, and operating system regularly to defend against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
- Monitoring account activity—Check your accounts anytime through Peoples Bank Online and Mobile Banking. Carefully review bank statements and card transactions and check your credit report regularly for unusual or unexplained charges, unknown accounts in your name, or unexpected denials on your card and report any suspicious activity to your bank immediately.
- Protecting each account with a unique, complex password—Utilizing numbers and symbols at least 12 characters long is a great rule of thumb, along with using a password manager. Use multifactor authentication for accounts that allow it.
Responding to a Data Breach
In the unfortunate event of a data breach, there are steps you can take to minimize your risk:
- Consider a security freeze on your credit report to restrict access to your credit file.
- Set up a fraud alert, which directs banks to verify your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account.
- Fraud Center - Peoples Bank wants to make sure your accounts are secure. Our Fraud Center is an alert system that notifies you of potential fraud on your Peoples Bank Mastercard® Debit Card.
- Debit Card Management - We offer Debit Card Management within our Online and Mobile Banking. You can set debit card alerts/protections; lock/unlock your debit card instantly or set travel notifications.
- ID TheftSmart™ - Peoples Bank offers ID TheftSmart™, which provides protection, detection and restoration of your identity. ID TheftSmart™ helps safeguard your identity and actively helps you fight back if it’s ever stolen. It provides continuous credit monitoring to alert you to any potential problems or suspicious activity.
- Shred documents with personal or sensitive information and change your passwords.
- Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and to your local law enforcement and/or state attorney general.
Learn more about how to protect your digital life during Data Privacy Week by visiting the Stay Safe Online website and spreading the word on social media with the hashtag #BeCyberSmart.
Peoples Bank is Here to Help You Stay Safe Online
Every year, hackers refine their strategies and grow more sophisticated in their tactics to steal your personal information and money. From browsing social media profiles to finding your basic information, to creating convincing websites that look like your favorite online retailers, you have to stay alert to these schemes and be vigilant about putting safety first when you're online. Contact us with any questions you have about protecting your Peoples Bank accounts from fraud.