SHERIFF CARMINE MARCENO’S JANUARY SAFETY & SECURITY TIP: SHARING BANKING PASSWORDS AND USER NAMES
A local bank manager reached out to one of our Lee County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Practitioners, just prior to the start of the new year, and shared a concern that I believe needs to be readdressed.
While the topic of password security is not new, and while many have tired of warnings regarding identity theft and fraud, this particular bank manager recognized a significant increase in this fraudulent activity and losses by bank consumers.
Victims are receiving calls, emails and/or texts from what they believe to be their bank or lending institution. The caller indicates that the victim’s account has potentially been hacked or accessed and asks the victim to provide user names and passwords for their accounts. Emails and text messages often contain bank logos and appear to be official and legitimate.
As is often the case, seniors continue to be most frequently targeted and victimized.
At this time, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office wants to remind you that:
1. A bank or financial institution WILL NOT ask you for your username and/or password over the phone, via email or via text…NEVER!
2. If you get a phone call asking for personal information hang up. Do not, under any circumstances, provide personal or financial information to the caller.
3. Do not click on ANY links in an email or text regarding your accounts.
4. Call your bank or financial institution to verify the security of your account and let them know of the attempt to get user names and/or passwords from you.
5. Change your username and password regularly and consider using stronger passwords. Avoid using passwords that can easily be guessed…such as 123456, the word “password,” your name, your house number, your dog’s name, etc. While a bit more tedious to type and remember, use at least eight characters and consider including upper-case letters, numerals and symbols such as &, !, @.
6. Guard your usernames, passwords and other personal information such as Social Security numbers. Don’t carry them in your wallet or store them near your computer…where others can see them.
7. Repeatedly remind seniors of these criminal activities and ask that they call you, PRIOR to sharing information, when uncertain or unsure.
Remember, your financial security is at stake. Lifetime savings can be eliminated in a moment. Exercise extreme caution when your personal information is involved.