NEVER trust wiring or ACH instructions sent via email. ALWAYS confirm with the sender by phone or in-person. Cyber criminals are hacking email accounts and sending emails with fake wiring instructions. These emails are convincing, sophisticated, and often appear to come from someone you know or work with. Always independently confirm wiring or ACH instructions in-person or via a telephone call to a trusted and verified phone number. NEVER wire or ACH money without double-checking that the wiring or ACH instructions are correct.
Mail Fraud. In light of recent check thefts from mailboxes, click here for local law enforcement tips to avoid mail theft.
Usernames and Passwords. Here are some useful tips and best practices to help you always keep your personal and financial information safe:
- The more complex a username the better
- Usernames should incorporate a mixture of letters, numbers, spaces and symbols.
- Do not use overly simple usernames like email@example.com or billsmith. Common names like Bill, John, Sue, etc. can be easily hacked by bad actors and used to gain access to your online accounts or online subscriptions.
- Do not use the same username and password for online financial accounts and other non-financial online accounts or subscriptions. Bad actors often presume credentials are similar among logins and can gain access.
- It is important to create passwords that are easy to remember, but more importantly, that are unique and difficult for others to guess.
- Change passwords regularly – every 2-3 months is best.
- Incorporate a minimum of eight characters and they should mix letters, numbers, spaces and symbols
- Change your username and passwords if your account has been compromised or you suspect fraud.
Go Green and Protect Your Identity. Did you know that banking online is one of the best ways to protect your identity? Paying bills electronically and receiving e-Statements dramatically reduces your risk of having your identity stolen. We encourage you to go green with us and discover safe, paperless banking today.
Shopping online? Beware of credit card fraud, the unauthorized use of a credit or debit cards to fraudulently obtain money or property. Credit and debit card numbers can be stolen from unsecured websites. Here are some tips to help you avoid issues:
- Don’t give out your credit card number online unless the site is secure and reputable. Look for the padlock icon which symbolizes a higher level of security.
- Make sure the transaction is secure when you electronically send your credit card number.
- Keep a list of all your credit cards and account information along with the card issuer’s contact information. If anything looks suspicious or you lose your credit card(s), contact the card issuer immediately.
- Review monthly bank and credit card statements regularly to check for fraud or unusual activity.
Safeguard Your Email. Email is often a vehicle used to commit fraud. Develop good email habits to protect your identity:
- Never open or respond to SPAM.
- Never click on links within an email from an unknown source. It’s safer to retype the website address than to click on it from within the body of the email.
- Never open attachments from strangers. If you do not know the sender or are not expecting the attachment, delete it.
- Never open attachments with odd filename extensions. Most computer files use filename extensions such as “.doc” for documents or “.jpg” for images. If a file has a double extension, like “heythere.doc.pif,” it is highly likely that this is a dangerous file and should never be opened. Do not open email attachments that have file endings of .exe, .pif, or .vbs. These are filename extensions for executable files and can be dangerous if opened.
- Never give out your email address or other sensitive or personal information to unknown websites. If you don’t know the reputation of a website, don’t assume you can trust it. Many websites sell email addresses or may be careless with your personal information.
- Never provide sensitive information in email. Forged email purporting to be from your financial institution or favorite online store is a popular trick used by criminals to extract personal information. Peapack-Gladstone Bank will NEVER ask you to verify or provide personal information through email.
- Don’t believe the hype. Many fraudulent emails send out urgent messages that claim your account will be closed if sensitive information isn’t immediately provided, or that important security information needs to be updated online. Peapack-Gladstone Bank will NEVER use this method to alert you of account specific issues.
- Be aware of poor design, and/or bad grammar and spelling. Tell-tale signs of a fraudulent email or website might include typos and grammatical errors, as well as unprofessional design layout and quality. Delete these immediately.
- Backup your sensitive data records. This will not only help you restore damaged or corrupted data, but it will help you protect yourself against fraud and help recover lost files if necessary.
To Share or Not to Share. Personal information shared on social networking sites can be easily accessed by criminals. Avoid posting personal information like where you bank, how you invest your money, physical addresses, emails, cell phone numbers, account numbers or passwords.
Is Your Phone Too Smart? Your smartphone contains a lot of personal information. Use a secure password and make sure you delete any information, including photographs, before you take advantage of the latest upgrade.
Spam Texts. Just like email spam, text spam can direct you to malicious links designed to infect your smartphone and capture your personal information. Add your mobile phone to the "Do Not Call" list at www.donotcall.gov
Say No to Public Wi-Fi Hotspots. The Wi-Fi available at your local coffee spot may not be secure. Be careful with the information you release or the sites you visit.
Update Security Software. Your web-enabled devices need the most current protection from viruses, malware and other online threats. As a best practice, maintaining the latest security software, web browser and operating system.
If you have specific questions about security, please contact us online or by calling the Client Contact Center at (908) 234-0700.