With all the amazing advances in technology, we really use a lot of different devices during the day. While some of us use our computers just for email, others may use their phones for pretty much everything (Alexa, can you order me more laundry detergent and also look up how to remove a coffee stain from silk?). But no matter how often, or for what purpose, we use technology, we should always know how to stay safe online. At Advia, we take fraud and identity theft seriously and want to protect our members and their money.

What are some cyber security risks?

Cyber criminals can use many tricks to infect someone’s computer, such as emails containing malicious URLs or attachments. Once they have access, they try to ransom the private information forcing the fraud victim to pay to get the information returned. They can also create fake shopping websites where a user will enter their account number or card information to make a purchase, but the scammer will actually use that information for their own financial gain. And lastly, unsecured internet connections, such as free WiFi, can easily be hacked by local scammers allowing them to access private information (credit card number, account number, Social Security number) and steal the user’s identity.

How to stay Safe Online

To avoid these potential risks, one of our IT Officers, Jeremy, has rounded up the best tips for how our members can stay safe online:

1. Stay alert

Realize that anyone could be an attractive target to hackers. Don’t ever say, “It won’t happen to me.” Regularly check your transactions via Digital Banking or you monthly statements for any unknown or suspicious transactions. Set up alerts via Digital Banking or Visa® for notifications for potentially fraudulent activity.

2. Practice good password management

To have a strong, hard-to-crack password:

  • Do use a strong mix of characters
  • Do use a sentence or phrase instead of 1-2 words
  • Don’t use the same password for multiple sites
  • Don’t share your password with others
  • Don’t write your passwords down
  • Use a password manager to manage your passwords

You can also use password when not online. Create a password for any transactions done with Advia via phone or in person for added security!

3. Never leave devices unattended

Never leave a computer, phone, or tablet for any length of time — no matter how short — without locking it. It’s also best practice to have a password-protected lock on one’s phone. Most phones provide many methods for locking, such as password, PIN, pattern, fingerprint, and face recognition.

4. Be cautious of Links or Attachments in Emails

Always be careful when clicking on attachments or links in an email. If the email is unexpected or seems suspicious for any reason, don’t click on it. Red flags of suspicious emails include grammatical errors in the body of the email, a generic greeting that isn’t personal to the recipient, or if the email is providing information that wasn’t requested or that doesn’t make sense to the recipient. Users should always double check the URL of the website contained in the link by hovering over the link before clicking. Be sure to scrutinize the link carefully; there could be a big difference between website.org and website.com.

5. Use a secure connection

Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should only be done on a personal device, on a private, trusted network. Never share private data when using a friend’s phone, a public computer, or a cafe’s free WiFi as these are not secure connections.

6. Install anti-virus software on all devices & Keep it updated

We encourage banking on the go and that’s why we want our members protected no matter what type of device they are using. Members should make sure to have a good anti-virus software on their desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone. Most anti-virus software comes as a package, allowing users to share their subscription across multiple devices. Jeremy recommends Sophos Home free version, which has real-time anti-virus, parental web filtering, and protection from known malicious sites. This is available for PC and Mac.

Make sure to always update your anti-virus and other software programs as needed. These programs are always taking into account new risks and preventative measures, so you want to make sure your programs and apps are working at their best.

How are we keeping our members’ information safe?

At Advia, our IT Department includes a professional team of specialists that range from Data Architect to System Administrator to Information Security Specialist. They are always learning and growing at a rate consistent with new developments in technology to keep our members’ information secure from fraud and identity theft.

Our IT Department isn’t the only team looking out for fraud, we also have a highly trained team within our Risk Management Department that is monitoring our members’ accounts 24/7 for suspicious activity. This team stays up to date on current scams and fraud risks to protect our members and their money.

Along with our dedicated staff, many of our products offer additional fraud monitoring, such as our Visa Credit Cards. All our Visa Platinum Credit Cards come with free fraud monitoring as well as more features like online purchase protection with Verified with Visa®.

Another way to keep you notified of fraudulent activity is our newly offered Visa® Alerts for our Visa Credit and Debit Cards. Enroll to receive alerts in real time via text, email, or both. Enroll and be notified of various card activity such as exceeding a certain amount, receiving an international transaction, or being used without the card present (via phone or online).

With these helpful tips, our members are now more likely to recognize a fraud attempt and be able to protect their identity and money in the future.  Learn more tips to prevent fraud and what a member should do if they suspect they’re a victim of fraud.