Merchants Bank Online Banking, when used correctly, has been designed to ensure that only you, or those you specifically authorize, have access to your account information. When you conduct banking transactions using Merchants Online Banking, a number of security measures are working in the background to provide you with confidential and secure access. However, it is very important that you keep your computer up to date and follow current security best practices to keep yourself safe and secure while using the Internet. Here are some helpful tips:
- Online Banking Security Tips
- ID Theft Protection Tips
- Tips for disposing of your mobile device
The Internet criminals are persistent. Internet theft and fraud have become big business. It is important that you understand the techniques the criminals and hackers use to try to gain access to your private information and hack your accounts.
Email Fraud or Phishing – Phishing is when criminals are trying to get you to reveal private information about yourself and your Merchants Bank accounts by sending out fake emails that look like they come directly from Merchants Bank or some other legitimate institution. Merchants Bank will never ask you to provide private information via email. The criminals will use very convincing emails with realistic logos and images. The fraudulent email might also include a link to a website. You should never click on a link in an unsolicited email. When you click on a link in a fraudulent email, it might install malicious software on your computer designed to steal information from you.
Vishing – This is (voice) phishing via the phone. The criminals will call, usually with a recorded message, instructing you to call a number and leave bank account or credit card information. Never provide private information to someone that has called you saying they represent Merchants Bank.
SMiShing - Texting has become very popular on cell phones and smartphones. SMS (Short Message Service) is the technology used to send and receive text messages on cell phones and smartphones. Criminals are taking advantage of this technology by sending a message asking for private bank or credit account information. The message might indicate that your immediate attention is required or your accounts will be closed. The criminal might provide a website address to visit or a phone number to call. Never respond to text messages requesting private Merchants Bank account information. Merchants Bank will never ask you to provide private information via text messages.
**Important** – Merchants Bank will never ask you to provide private information via email, phone message or text message. If you are ever uncertain, contact the bank directly using a Bank phone number from a trusted source.
Security Best Practices
The Internet criminals never stop inventing new ways to steal from you. The list below includes a few security best practices that you can use to help protect your computer and private data.
- Antivirus Software - Install antivirus software to prevent viruses from infecting your computer.
- Antispam Software - Install antispam software to prevent unwanted SPAM and junk email messages from entering your email inbox. This will help reduce the possibility of falling victim to phishing.
- Antispyware software - Install antispyware software on your computer to block the installation of spyware.
- Email - Email is usually not a secure way to transmit private information over the Internet. If you use your normal email program to send Merchants Bank a message, be careful to not include any confidential information such as account numbers or other account information.
- Update your software - Keep all of your software including your operating system and Internet browser as up to date as possible to protect from new security threats that appear on a regular basis.
- Firewall - Install a firewall to prevent unauthorized access to your computer systems.
User Name and Password
To access your Online Banking account information and conduct transactions with us, you will need to provide a username and password. A strong password is still one of the most important methods for securing your personal information.
Here are some very important ways that you can make your password stronger and more secure:
- Never tell your password to anyone else. Also, never write it down where someone else could find it.
- Don't use a short password. The longer your password is, the more difficult it is for someone to guess or crack it by trial and error. We recommend your password contain at least 8 characters.
- Be sure to change your password often, and don't use common words that can easily be guessed.
- Don't use consecutive numbers in your password. We recommend using a combination of letters and numbers in your password, which makes them much more difficult to guess.
- You might want to try using a combination of a word and a number that you already know for your password. For example, the make of your first car and your mother’s birthday. To add additional security to your password, capitalize one letter.
For example, here is a method to make a stronger password:
a little better
This password is still easy to remember and provides better security for you. If you should forget your password or think that someone else may know your password, contact the bank immediately.
Log Off When Not In Use
If you are using Merchants Online Banking and you need to leave your computer for any reason, click on Logout. This will log you out of Merchants Online Banking so that no one else can access your information while you are away from the computer. When you return, all you need to do is enter your username and password and you will be right back into the system.
In addition, if you don't perform any functions in Merchants Online Banking for a period of time while you are logged on, the session will automatically time-out and log you off for your own protection.
Other Tips to Help Reduce Fraud
- Use Online Banking alerts. – Go to the “Other Services” tab in Online Banking and select “Alerts”. Set alerts and reminders for your accounts.
- Sign up for eStatements. – Go to the “Preferences” tab in Online Banking and select “eStatements”. Edit your accounts and choose “Go Paperless” to receive eStatements for that account.
- Monitor your check images online on a regular basis to reduce chances of fraud. – Go to the “Accounts” tab in Online Banking and select “View Checks”.
- Use direct deposit. – Go to the “Other Services” tab in Online Banking and select “Direct Deposit”. Fill out the form and send it to the address shown.
- Monitor your account activity regularly to detect fraud earlier. – Go to the “Accounts” tab in Online Banking and select “Balances” for the account you wish to view.
- View the Alerts section on the Merchants Bank website to see current fraud activities that are occurring in our communities.
- View the Identity Theft Prevention tips on the Merchants Bank website. Just select ID Theft Prevention Tips from the “How Can We Help You?” drop down menu.
For additional information for conducting online business safely visit the website for the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) at the following link: http://www.staysafeonline.org/
For additional online security tips, click here: http://www.onguardonline.gov/