Online Security

The world has become increasingly Internet-oriented, and we have near instant access to almost anything, from work to recreation, at any time. It is important to remember that being online increases the risk of losing personal data.

Here are some internet safety tips to help you protect yourself:

Use a password that is a minimum of 8 characters for your laptop/PC and websites.

Use complex passwords: Capital and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.

Avoid dictionary words, names, or ties to any personal information.

To increase the strength of your password, consider using a passphrase such as “Spring Bank B Corp”. Then add in the complexity.   For example: [email protected]

Never share your passwords.

Each password should be unique, which can cause a problem for many. In order to keep track of your passwords, use a password manager so you don’t have to remember each one. Search “best password manager” for recommendations.

Are you tired of receiving lots of spam emails? Consider creating a secondary email account. This secondary account can be used to register on websites and with businesses for things that are not important to you. Your primary email address can be reserved for the things you value (ie. work, family and recreational activities).

  • – Follow the password guidance from above; make all passwords complex and unique.
  • – Watch out for someone looking over your shoulder when entering a password in public.
  • – Only enter personal information on a website where you feel safe and confident that the site is valid.


Here are a couple of ways to boost your confidence:

  • – You typed in the web site address as opposed to using a provided link.
  • – You see a lock icon in your browser.
  • – The address begins with https.

Keep Your Data Safe

How Can I Protect Myself?

  • – Trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, there is a high chance that it isn’t
  • – Think before you click.  Don’t open emails or attachments from people you don’t know. Pay attention to the email addresses that contact you. Pay attention to your emails and check for improper formatting, typos and grammatical errors, and fake email signatures.
  • – Call the sender of the email to confirm it was really them. When in doubt, call the person who sent you a suspicious email. If you cannot get ahold of the sender or still doubt the email’s safety, trash the email.
  • – Your personal information should be kept private. Avoid sharing your name, address, telephone number and other personal info when using the Internet.
  • – Businesses are obligated to protect your personal information. A business will NEVER ask for your personal information by email.
  • – Protect your mobile devices with passwords or PINs. Any passwords you use should be long and complex. Avoid passwords such as “Password1” or PINs such as “1234”.
  • – Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever it is available. If your password does end up in the wrong hands, 2FA lowers the chances that hackers can take over your account.
  • – Ensure your profile picture is professional. For many social media sites, this is public information, regardless of the privacy settings you may select for your account.
  • – Nothing is ever truly deleted from the Internet. Be mindful and consider your content carefully before you post.
  • – Check your privacy settings on your social media accounts. Most social media sites will provide you with the ability to limit access to your personal information and secure your account. This helps prevent anyone attempting to gather information on you.
  • – Be mindful of who you befriend on social media. Mutual friends of those you trust aren’t always necessarily trustworthy. Only befriend people you know or have met before.
  • – Be cautious when using public Wi-Fi. Public Wi-Fi is NOT secure. Never use public Wi-Fi for online banking or to make online purchases. Public Wi-Fi should strictly be used for non-financial, non-personal browsing. Only make purchases and use online banking when you are on a secure network.
  • – Shield your screen and keyboard when you are entering passwords to prevent others from being able to see your account information.

Tax Scams

Cybercriminal activity is especially prominent during tax season. Phishing campaigns impersonate popular accounting and tax-filing software, threatening to close user software or tax filing accounts unless the user “clicks the link” to indicate that the account is still active.

How can you protect yourself from tax fraud?

Knowing the anatomy of a phish will help you spot and avoid the phisher net.

– Slow down.  With our extremely fast-paced culture, phishers are counting on us not spending enough time inspecting our emails. The number one reason victims fall for phishing scams is because they were rushing and not paying attention. Take your time.

– Don’t trust the FROM line.  Though an email may be appear to be from a trusted sender, validate that the sender is who they say they are by double-checking their email address.

– Be conscious of emotional manipulation. Phishing emails often count on playing on your emotions. The two most popular scams include “Get Rich Quick” and the “something bad will happen” scenarios. Assess the email for validity before you act.

– Be wary when time-based action is needed. There is usually a sense of urgency attached to phishing emails such as “Act Now!” or “The offer expires within 24 hours.”

Ensure that your operating system, applications software and antivirus programs are up to date.

If you think it is a phish:

  • o Don’t forward it to others. If it is a malicious email, you risk spreading the danger.
  • o Delete the email.
  • o Keep in mind that if it came from a legitimate business, you should be able to visit their web site and confirm the information. You can always call the sender using a known good phone number to confirm the information.