Internet Security & Fraud Prevention

USA.gov has put together a web page with advice on how to protect yourself against consumer frauds and scams. They keep a regularly updated list of current scams to be aware of.

Consumer Frauds and Scams

They also have a page of official government web resources for learning about and reporting internet fraud.

Learning About and Reporting Internet Fraud

If you suspect fraud or notice any suspicious activity on any of your AgCountry accounts, please contact your local office immediately. In the interest of security and fraud prevention, when you request a Wire or ACH transfer to a new bank account through your local branch office, AgCountry may either require that those requests be made in person or that you answer some key security questions prior to completing the request. Requests for a new ACH bank account can also be added through online banking. 

General Online Security

The following are some best practices that you can employ to protect yourselves. Learning more about what you can do to help prevent identity theft and fraud is an important step you can take to protect your credit and personal information. Take the time to learn more.

Your User ID and Password
It's critically important for you to be vigilant about online security. Do not allow your browser to store your password. Use complex passwords; do not use names and dates. Do not share your passwords with others. Use different passwords for different applications and websites.

Your Electronic Information
Think twice before entering confidential information on a computer at a public location, such as a library or internetcafe. Make sure your personal computer and Smart Phones are password protected. Avoid accessing your bank accounts at Internet cafes or from public Wi-Fi hotspots. Public internet connections that you find in airports, hotels, coffee shops and internet cafes typically do not have the level of security necessary to protect your sensitive financial information.

Email Security
Email sent over the internet can be intercepted by others. It also can be used to send damaging software that can infect your computer. Do not click on links from unknown sources. Think twice before sending confidential information (credit card numbers, Social Security Numbers, PIN's) in an email. Do not open attachments from unknown sources.

Phishing
Don't fall prey to fraudsters "phishing" to steal your personal and financial information. If unsure of any request you receive via email or telephone contact the sender by calling them with a number you already have. Do NOT click on the link or open any attachment in an email you believe to be suspicious and delete the message. Do NOT provide sensitive information as part of an unsolicited phone call.

Install antivirus and firewall software on all computers
Install and maintain an antivirus product and personal firewall to your computer. Many companies offer such products at low or no cost.

Run a full antivirus scan on a weekly basis
To detect security compromises before they do significant damage, run a full antivirus scan at least once a week. If you have a particularly high online transaction volume, consider running a full scan multiple times a week. Anti-virus and anti-spyware software programs are designed to protect you from malicious viruses and spyware. Keep up to date on software and hardware patches for your machine. Set your web browser to a higher level of security. Anti-virus and anti-spyware will not protect your computer from everything, however, used correctly they will go a long way in identifying threats to your computer.

Set your computer to automatically install operating system and software updates
It is extremely important that you make sure your computer has all of the right security updates. Set your computer to automatically update your operating system (via Microsoft Update, Windows Update or Apple Software Update) as well as your add-ins (such as Adobe Flash, Adobe Reader and Sun Java) with all of the latest security patches at least once a week. Each product generally has an option to "check for updates" automatically.

Establish a dedicated computer for sensitive transactions
If possible, consider dedicating a single computer for use by everyone in your home or office for conducting sensitive online banking transactions such as issuing wires or making ACH payments. If a workstation computer is used for online banking, it should not be used for general web browsing, e-mail or social networking.

Monitor and reconcile your accounts daily or at least monthly depending on your level of activity.

To make sure your accounts have not been compromised, reconcile your financial transactions on a daily basis. If anything looks incorrect or out of the ordinary please contact customer service.

Take note of any strange or unusual behavior
If you notice that your computer is running slower than usual or if you start seeing strange pop-ups, this may be an indication of a potential problem. Run your antivirus software to detect and eradicate a possible infection. If this does not eliminate the issues, consider having a computer security center perform a review to identify other issues or possible infections your anti-virus software may have missed.

Rebuild your computer if it becomes infected
Although you may have run several antivirus scans against your computer, industry experts recommend that a complete rebuild of the computer is the only sure way to remove the threat completely. This is not a convenient solution, however, your sensitive data and finances are critical and we want you to be aware of every possible precaution you can take to protect your private information.

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