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  • Using Social Media? Protect Yourself Against Fraud.

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Social media is great! We love to post our pictures, chat with friends and connect with companies and people with which we may have lost touch. However, we need to make sure that what we put on social media doesn't affect our security.

    I'm sure you're asking me, "how could this happen?" Let me give you a hypothetical example.

    Mary Jones has accounts at her local bank. She loves her online banking and bill pay for its convenience. Mary is a busy mother who doesn't have time to write checks and send in payments. Her local bank, who is very security minded, makes Mary set up security questions on her account so they can verify if Mary is the one accessing her account. Mary is very busy so she just does the normal security questions, mother's maiden name, etc. She doesn't want to, nor has time to think about it too much. Mary also loves social media and puts pictures of her family and pets on social media. 

    One day Mary goes online to check her balance and realizes money is missing. What happened? Did she leave her debit card somewhere? No, it's still in her purse! What happened?

    What happened is that Mary chose easy passwords and security questions/answers. A cyber thief figured out Mary's password was her dog's name. And when Mary changed her passwords as her bank advised, the thief was able to get the new one because he knew the security questions. How did he get them, you ask? Her social media account! Remember, she posted pictures of her dog and of her mother, tagging her in the photos, which shows her mother's maiden name!

    So what do you do? Get rid of your computer? Live like a hermit? No, I'm not suggesting anything that drastic. Here are a few tips:

    • When choosing or creating security questions, make them something people don't know and won't know about you. (Consider providing a different answer to the security question than what the correct answer would be.)
    • Make your passwords difficult to crack. Use letters and characters. Check and change them often. 
    • Be careful what you post on social media. Talking about your family is certainly OK, but if something you are posting is an answer to your security question, think again before you post.

    Everyone loves social media. It truly is a great tool for connecting with others. But, with just a little work, you can make it safer and help protect against fraud. 

  • Who's on First? Account Titles and Why It's Important.

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012

    What names are on your checking account? This sounds like a pretty simple question, but you would be surprised how many people are unclear about it. If you are married, perhaps you do not have both you and your spouse on the same account. There are many reasons why this may be the case. Maybe you and your spouse have separate accounts. Perhaps when you opened the account, the other person wasn't present or maybe you have had major life changes. There can be many reasons why.

    Think back to when you opened your account one, five, 15 or more years ago. Is everything the same as it was back then? Have you revisited your account set up to ensure your account reflects the stage of life you're in now? Let's discuss why it might be important to do a quick review of your accounts. It's something that may take you a few minutes, but can be very worthwhile.

    1. Access to your money- This is the most obvious reason, but very important. Anyone named as an "owner" on an account has access to the money within it. They can write checks (on checking accounts), withdraw money, or even close the account. It is important to ensure whoever is named an "owner" on your account is someone you trust and is supposed to have access to your money.
    2. Estate Planning- If you were to pass, do you have beneficiaries named on your account? Having a beneficiary named can help with the distribution of your funds should something happen to you. Also, you may consider having an additional owner that may be able to help with bills if you are unable to do so.
    3. FDIC Insurance- FDIC Insurance coverage can vary depending on how your account is titled. Please consult your MutualBanker to see what would benefit you the most.
    4. Peace of mind- Sometimes it helps us relax if we know that in the event of something happening, expected or unexpected, our accounts are in order. It can provide peace of mind knowing there will not be a burden left on those responsible for handling your estate.

    Account titling can be something that we would be glad to help you with at your local MutualBank Financial Center. You should have an account review on at least a yearly basis to make sure your present life situation is reflected in your bank accounts. This is very important as banking becomes more dependent on electronic banking, such as mobile banking, online banking, etc. Also, as an estate planning tool, you need to be sure that your assets pass to who you want them to go to in the event of an unexpected tragedy. This is important whether you are 18 or 80!

    Let us at MutualBank help you live a better life!

  • Have You Changed Your Online Banking Password Lately?

    Friday, April 20, 2012

    Yes, it’s the familiar question many of us get in today’s world of technology…‘Have you changed your password lately?’  Recognizing that it can be challenging to change passwords often it is however something that is necessary to help prevent financial fraud.

    MutualBank is taking steps to help you protect your financial records accessible online.  In October of 2012 MutualBank Online Banking customers will be required to change their Online Banking passwords every 180 days.

    Please consider changing your password now in order to get used to this new process.  As you change your password we ask that you follow the guidelines listed below in crafting your new password.

    Online Banking Password Requirements

    • Passwords must be at least 8 characters long but less than 17.
    • Passwords must contain at least 1 number.
    • Passwords must contain at least 1 alpha character.
    • Consider using both upper and lower case alpha characters.
    • Consider using special characters such as ‘!, @, $, %, etc.’.
    • Do not use your name, date of birth, maiden name, mother’s maiden name, address, dictionary words, or other easily guessable words for passwords.
    • Instead of writing a complete password down to remember it please consider only writing down a password hint that will help you remember and even then don’t leave this paper laying out in plain view.

    If you need further assistance with changing your password please
    call us at 800-382-8031.

    Check out our Financial Education Center for more articles and calculators to help you live a better life!

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