Hackers attack every day--every 39 seconds on average. Are you prepared? In this article you’ll learn the 5 most important financial security tips.

You’ll also find out:

  • How to protect yourself from each of these threats
  • What to do if you become a victim of a scam

So if you want to get ready to protect your identity and your data from cyber criminals and scammers, this article is for you. 

Let’s dive right in.


1. Ransomware attacks have become more sophisticated. 

This type of cyberattack, in which hackers prevent you from accessing your data until/unless you pay a fee (or “ransom”), has victimized individuals, businesses, and government offices alike. Unfortunately, ransomware attacks are only growing harder to stop. These attacks often begin with a legitimate-looking email, which instead contains hidden malware.  Once activated, the attack can quickly lock you out of important systems and files which are often impossible to unlock without paying a ransom. 

What you can do: Avoid clicking on links or opening email attachments from unknown senders. Even if it appears to be from a legitimate business or institution, visit their website directly or call the customer service number to make sure the message is legitimate. Many scammers impersonate real companies to gain users’ trust. Phishing attacks can also happen over text message, so beware of unknown numbers.  It’s also important to backup electronic data, so that you can retrieve critical files in the event you do fall victim to this attack.

2. Phishing attacks are also harder to detect.

As described above, phishing attacks are when scammers pose as a legitimate business or institution, such as your bank or the Social Security Administration, in order to steal your money and/or sensitive personal and financial information. Now that so many credentials are available for sale on the dark web, it is even easier for scammers to personalize their attacks.

What you can do: Don’t open attachments from unknown senders or when you weren’t expecting anything. Before you click on a link, hover your mouse over it to see the full URL. If it looks “phishy,” don’t click. 

3. More financial institutions will use Strong Customer Authentication (SCA).

For your own protection, you may be required to use 2-factor authentication to access your online banking and other financial accounts. For example, when you log in you may receive a one-time password (OTP) by SMS or email that you’ll need to enter as well. While this may seem inconvenient, it enhances security. In fact, cybersecurity experts recommend 2-factor authentication for any account that offers it, such as your email. 


4. Password strength is still important.

Even if you already use 2-factor authentication, a strong password is still a crucial part of keeping your account secure. And with so many passwords captured in data breaches and made available on the dark web, you should adopt the habit of changing your passwords once or twice a year, as well as using different passwords for each account. That protects you against a criminal gaining your login information for one account and then accessing everything. You can use a password manager if you need help creating and remembering strong passwords. 

5. Keep shredding confidential papers and avoid public wifi for sensitive transactions.

Every year some things change and others stay the same. While you need to keep track of the latest scams and security threats, you also want to keep up basic security practices such as shredding financial statements, old tax returns, and other confidential papers. You can sign up for the USPS’s free Informed Delivery service to find out what’s in your mail and report anything that’s missing. And using e-statements instead of paper can protect you from mail theft. Just avoid using a public or unsecured wireless network when you log onto online banking and other sensitive accounts. Scammers can take advantage of open networks to spy on your computer activity and steal your information.

There's only one bank named Dieterich...YOURS!

At Dieterich Bank, we care about the financial and cyber security of our Illinois customers and communities. If you have any questions or concerns about the safety of your account at Dieterich, don’t hesitate to contact us. Our friendly people are always happy to help. If you believe yourself to be the victim of identity theft or other scams, you can file a report with your local police department and the Illinois Attorney General’s office