Security Articles

How to Safely Bank and Shop Online E-newsletter

How to Safely Bank and Shop Online

You can’t be too protective of your financial information online. While banks and businesses work to make sure their customers’ information is secure, you can play a part in safeguarding your money, too. Here’s how.

Beef up online security at home. Secure your home online access with some simple steps: Install antivirus software on your computer. Also, protect your Wi-Fi with a seriously complicated password and be selective about giving it out. When you complete financial transactions, log out and close the browser.

Pick complex passwords and change them quarterly. If your passwords are your dog’s name and your birthdate, change them immediately — information easily found on social media can be used as clues by hackers. Follow website password guidelines that recommend combinations of numbers, symbols, and upper- and lower-case letters.

A creative way to craft a memorable password is to coin a phrase that guides you. For example, “I’m saving for my future!” might translate to “1mSving4mF!” (But don’t use this one, of course.).

Say no to free Wi-Fi. Free Wi-Fi in coffee shops, hotels, and other public places is often unsecured and can expose your information and passwords to cyber criminals. When you do use public Wi-Fi, be sure to only use secured sites that encrypt information sent over the Internet. To make sure a site is secure, look for a web address beginning with the letters “https” and a closed padlock symbol in the address bar.

If you must shop or bank from public areas, consider downloading a virtual private network, or VPN. That will mask your Internet address and encrypt your information.

Protect mobile devices. Only download software and apps from financial institutions you do business with, like Charles River Bank, or from authorized online stores. Logoff of banking and credit card apps when you finish using them. Keep software current because updates often enhance security features, and protect your screen from prying eyes in public places.

Make sure your Smartphone and tablet are password protected, and don’t leave them unattended and unlocked.

Be skeptical of unsolicited emails. Criminals distribute scams via email, a tactic called phishing, to trick consumers into giving out information such as bank account, credit card and Social Security numbers. If you receive an email from someone you don’t know, don’t reply — even it looks official. Banks, credit card companies and the U.S. government will never ask for sensitive information by email.

Don’t click on links, as they can be set up to spread viruses or other sorts of malware, and don’t call numbers provided. Instead, search online for the business to see if it’s legitimate.

By taking these few simple steps, you can greatly increase your online security and thwart hackers’ efforts to steal your personal information.

Terri Kaufman, NerdWallet

© Copyright 2015 NerdWallet, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Avoid Fraudulent e-mail Schemes

Charles River Bank customers should be aware of the continuing threat posed by multiple e-mail-based scams known as “phishing”. These e-mail-based scams attempt to collect private account information from customers through deceptive and misleading methods.

For example, these phishing e-mails fraudulently request personal information including user ids, passwords, Social Security numbers, credit or ATM card numbers. The unsuspecting customer’s personal information is generally gathered through a link provided in the e-mail that directs the recipient to web sites that look very much like a legitimate Charles River Bank site.

Please note that Charles River Bank does not solicit sensitive, private information from customers through unsecure e-mail. Also, Charles River Bank recommends accessing our website by typing the website address into your browser or by using a “bookmark” that directs the browser to our site.

Customers who receive these e-mails should not follow any of the instructions in the e-mail, and should not click on the links contained in the e-mail. If customers follow these steps, their accounts are not in jeopardy of being compromised. Charles River Bank will NOT send e-mail messages requesting your confidential information, including account numbers, passwords, or PINs. If you receive an e-mail requesting such information, please contact us immediately at 508-533-8661.

If you have any concerns about the legitimacy of an e-mail message that appears to be from Charles River Bank, please forward it immediately to customerservice@charlesriverbank.com. As stated above, do not respond to the e-mail message or click any of the links contained in the e-mail. Please do not remove the original subject line or change the e-mail in any way when you forward it to us.

Customers who may have clicked on the links and entered information in response to one or more of these e-mails should:

  • Contact Charles River Bank immediately at (508) ­­­­533-8661.
  • Contact the following three credit bureaus to have a fraud alert placed on your credit report:
  • Equifax Fraud Line: (800) 525-6285
  • Experian Fraud Line: (800) 397-3742
  • Trans Union Fraud Line: (800) 680-7289
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission* or (877) IDTHEFT — (877) 438-4338.
  • Additionally, to ensure that your computer was not infected with any malicious software that the phishing e-mail may have contained, we highly recommend that you immediately run a scan* to check for viruses or adware/spyware. Please contact a computer security professional if you need assistance with determining whether or not your computer has been infected.

*Please note that Charles River Bank is not affiliated with any provider of software packages that scan your computer, and we cannot endorse or recommend any particular one.

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Learn How to Protect Yourself from Fraud on the Internet

Your security is extremely important to us. Charles River Bank is committed to educating its customers about identity theft and fraud. We will constantly work to provide you with updates on the latest fraudulent scams, as well as ways to avoid them.

Please remember:

  • You should never access the Charles River Bank Web page from a link provided by a third party. You should always type the URL address, www.charlesriverbank.com, into your Web browser or use a bookmark.
  • Charles River Bank will NOT send e-mail messages requesting your confidential information, including account numbers, passwords, or PINs. If you receive an e-mail requesting such information, please contact us immediately at 508-533-8661.
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Learn How to Protect Yourself from Fraud

Your security is extremely important to us. Charles River Bank is committed to educating its customers about identity theft and fraud. We will constantly work to provide you with updates on the latest fraudulent scams, as well as ways to avoid them.

Please remember:

  • You should never access the Charles River Bank Web page from a link provided by a third party. You should always type the URL address, www.charlesriverbank.com, into your Web browser or use a bookmark.
  • Charles River Bank will NOT send e-mail messages requesting your confidential information, including account numbers, passwords, or PINs. If you receive an e-mail requesting such information, please contact us immediately at 508-533-8661.

If you believe there has been fraudulent transactions on your Charles River Bank debit card, please call the Elan Fraud Department 24/7 at 866-842-5208.

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