By Jeff Foote, Group Executive Vice President, Director Operations and Technology – Broadway Bank
It is fascinating to witness technology’s influence on our lives and on our society. Technology and society’s interdependence began long ago with the most basic inventions, and today, we fit more computer technology in the palm of our hand than it took to get us to the moon 45 years ago. In today’s financial services industry, making a deposit while relaxing on a white-sand beach can easily substitute for a visit to our favorite bank lobby.
Unfortunately, criminal elements are also a part of our society. Bank robbers in the computer and information age are evolving into cyber criminals, who aim to steal private and confidential information from all kinds of people and organizations—from government agencies and iconic store brands to trusted financial institutions and everyday families and consumers.
The threat of having our information stolen today is very real, and it can occur from thousands of miles away. However, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, we can do ourselves a favor and be crime smart. Getting educated and taking a few basic steps may well keep you from becoming a victim of crime and fraud—and save you a great deal of time and trouble. For starters, remember that cyber criminals and thieves usually take the path of least resistance. While most cyber thefts are deliberate, we can prevent many of them by making ourselves more difficult targets. Here are a few tips:
- Safeguard your purse or wallet everywhere you go. Do not leave such items unattended–in a shopping cart, for example.
- Do not leave your valuables, or items that look valuable, exposed in your unattended vehicle for thieves to easily see or steal.
- Remember to account for all your belongings while traveling via cab, bus, train or plane. Leaving behind a laptop loaded with your personal information is a gold mine for thieves!
- Be mindful when storing financial and other confidential information, like Social Security numbers for example, on portable USB storage drives which can be lost or stolen.
- Use caution when sending confidential information over email channels. Email can easily be compromised and/or unintentionally forwarded to unauthorized parties.
- Do not click on web links embedded in emails from senders who are unknown to you. These links may be designed to install malicious software (malware) onto your computer. A new trend of malware known as ransom ware is designed to lock you out of your computer until you pay a criminal to unlock it.
- Use great care when dealing with telemarketers. Telemarketing fraud is on the rise and criminals are using several tactics via telephone to gain your trust or to sell you a product so that you will disclose key financial information. For example, telemarketing criminals now use fraudulent Caller ID technology to purport to be a legitimate organization such as a bank or utility company in order to fool people into divulging confidential information.
- Monitor your bank and credit card statements regularly for unusual activity.
- Shred sensitive financial documents when you dispose of them; never discard them into a trashcan.
We should not underestimate the tenacity of our adversaries. Much like we lock the front doors of our homes to keep unwelcomed strangers at bay, all of us can employ these basic security measures to combat today’s cyber criminals.
About Broadway Bank
Headquartered in San Antonio, Broadway Bank was founded in 1941. It has evolved from a small neighborhood bank into one of the largest independently owned banks in Texas. Today, Broadway Bank continues to function as a family-owned and operated financial institution. Broadway Bank offers a full- range of sophisticated financial services, including personal banking, private banking, military banking, business banking and wealth management. With more than $2.9 billion in total assets, the highly rated Bank operates 38 locations in San Antonio, Austin and the surrounding areas. Visit the Broadway Bank website at broadwaybank.com or find us on Facebook or Twitter for more information.