Protect Your Computer

You keep your home safe with locks on the doors and windows, and you might even have an alarm system—but how do you protect the information on your computers and mobile devices?

Here are a few ways that you can safeguard your financial information while banking and shopping on the internet.

Take extra precautions when logging in

Use a strong user ID and password. Consider using a long passphrase that includes upper- and lower-case letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid using your birth date, anniversary date, address, or a pet's name.

Most hackers will attempt access to multiple accounts, so use a different user ID and password for each of your accounts.

Keep your user IDs and passwords private, and remember to change them regularly. When you've finished with your online session, be sure to log out of your account before closing your browser window.

Never go to a login page through a link in an email or pop-up window. Instead, go to the login page directly by typing the site name into the browser.

When you log in to your financial accounts or conduct sensitive transactions, be aware of your surroundings. Avoid public computers and Wi-Fi networks that aren't secure; using them could expose your personal information.

Review your bank accounts regularly for signs of fraud

The more familiar you are with your transactions, the earlier you can detect irregularities within your account. If you bank online, check your accounts regularly to spot and report errors or fraudulent activity, just as you would with a paper statement. Early detection of fraudulent activity is important to avoiding a potential financial setback.

Keep your software current

The most recent version of your software will protect your computers and mobile devices with the latest technology. Be sure to perform regular software updates so that you'll receive the most current data protection for your accounts.

Install anti-virus software on your computer

Anti-virus programs can prevent, detect and remove malware (malicious software) from your computer. Malware can access your computers and steal information such as account numbers, debit or credit card numbers, user IDs and passwords.

Research your options before downloading anti-virus software. It's important to choose a reputable company. Sometimes hackers disguise their efforts as an anti-virus program.

Use secure, reputable sites

Before you enter your personal information online—such as your name, address, birth date, Social Security number, phone number or credit card number—be sure that the company is reputable and uses encrypted technology to protect your personal information.

To know if a website is secure, look for the padlock or shield symbol in the address bar. The site will also have a web address that starts with "https://". The "s" represents the word "secure."

Protect your smart devices

Billions of personal devices, such as home appliances, TVs, smart speakers, wearable technologies, and toys are connected to the internet, collecting and sharing data. Before purchasing a new smart device, do your research. Check out user reviews on the product, look it up to see if there have been any security/privacy concerns, and understand what security features the device has, or doesn’t have.

Use the highest security settings on your internet router and turn on encryption to make it harder for cyber criminals to get access.

Be selective about what you connect. Smart speakers make a convenient device hub, but connecting your front door or security camera to your smart speaker could create a privacy and security risk.

Change default device passwords and don't share them beyond your household. Configure privacy and security settings to your comfort level and disable features you may not need.

Limit access to and potential misuse of your "profile" data by turning off "personal results" (search history, email, calendar, contacts or shopping list) on your device.

Don't share sensitive information. Your voice data recorded by digital assistants may be stored to improve results, but later could be targeted to be mined for passwords or credit card details.

Mute the microphone. Prevent accidental or malicious listening or recording, especially when you're working at home.

Use discretion on social media sites

Don't put anything on social media that you wouldn't want the whole world (including hackers) to see. Often, hackers gain access to your personal information through social media posts, games, and apps. They scan for your place of birth, mother's maiden name, birth date, pet names and more. So make your social media settings private, and only allow your family members and friends to view your profiles.

Watch out for imposter scams, offers that seem too good to be true, or any request for payment by bitcoin or other uncommon methods. Be suspicious of any message that asks you to provide personal information or pressures you to act quickly to prevent a dire situation. 

Educate your children on cybersecurity

It's never too early to talk to your children about internet safety. First, educate them on the risks of sharing personal information and monitor their Internet activity. Then make sure their devices have the latest software updates. You can also place parental controls on devices your children use for an additional level of protection.

For more resources to protect your family, visit staysafeonline.org(opens in a new tab).(opens in a new tab)

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The information provided is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. BB&T hopes you find this information useful but we cannot guarantee that it is accurate, up to date, or appropriate for your situation. Financial calculators are provided to assist you in estimating the approximate costs associated with any bank activity. Your actual costs may vary. You should consult with a qualified attorney or financial advisor to understand how the law applies to your particular circumstances or for financial information specific to your personal or business situation.

Branch Banking and Trust Company, Member FDIC.

New York City residents: Translation or other language access services may be available. When calling our office regarding collection activity, if you speak a language other than English and need verbal translation services, be sure to inform the representative. A description and translation of commonly-used debt collection terms is available in multiple languages at www.nyc.gov/dca.

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BB&T and SunTrust have merged to become Truist. Both institutions will continue to offer independent product lines for a period of time. This may include differing underwriting guidelines, product features, terms, fees and pricing. Our friendly teammates at your local SunTrust branches will be happy to walk you through their respective products. You can also learn more by contacting them at 800-SUNTRUST or SunTrust.com.

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