October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
We're offering events, toolkits and services to help make the internet safer and more secure.
With the elevated role that technology plays in our day to day lives, it’s no surprise that identity theft and data breaches are on the rise. In fact, it’s estimated that one in four Americans have been affected by cybercrime.
No matter who you are, someone is interested in your information. Identity theft is profitable, and it’s appealing to cybercriminals because there’s very little risk compared to a traditional robbery. Cybercriminals are especially interested in accessing your financial accounts, or to use your information to commit fraud—like opening credit cards in your name and leaving you with the bill and damaged credit. Being a victim of a cybercrime is devastating, and recovering can be a long and frustrating process.
That’s why it's so important to #StaySafeOnline—protecting yourself and your assets starts with cybersecurity awareness. SESLOC maintains strict internal policies and performs ongoing systems tests to keep your information secure, but is also committed to providing programs and services to help you do your part. Read on to see what we're offering this month.
1. Register for Identity Theft Services
With a HomeFREE Checking account, you receive free identity theft detection and resolution coverage for you, your spouse or partner, plus children up to 25 years of age and parents living at home. You are also entitled to receive proactive monitoring services, which includes continuous credit monitoring,** monthly credit score upon demand,** an annual credit report** and dark web monitoring. Call (805) 543-1816 or visit any branch to get your Unique Member ID. Learn more at sesloc.org/identity-theft-services.
2. Get Our Cybersecurity Toolkit For Your Business
While everyone can benefit from staying safe online, businesses need a solid strategy to protect their own business, their customers and their data from growing cybersecurity threats. At SESLOC, we maintain strict internal policies and perform ongoing security tests to keep your Business account information secure. Check out our toolkit to learn what you can do.
3. Shred your Confidential Documents
Do you have documents with your social security numbers, credit card information, student records, health information or passwords? Shred it! Our next Shred Day is October 5 in Paso Robles from 9:00 a.m. 12:00 p.m. (or until partner trucks are full). Bring your confidential documents to be shredded on-site for free. If you will miss this Shred Day, then stay tuned for future events in the spring Atascadero and San Luis Obispo.
LIMITATIONS: The limit is two legal-size boxes (12 x 10 x 15 inches) per member, or about 80 pounds. The service is provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and offered only during the event’s scheduled time frame or until the partner trucks are at capacity. For more information, visit sesloc.org/shred-days »
4. Log on to Money Manager
There are many third-party apps available to help manage your finances, but sharing your bank account passwords with them can make you vulnerable to cyber attacks. That's why we offer Money Manager, a free tool to help you set budgets, track spending and visualize your finances. Learn more at sesloc.org/moneymanager »
Ken's Top 10 Tips to #StaySafeOnline
Ken Long, SESLOC’s Senior Vice President/Chief Information Officer, offers his advice for how to stay safe online.
1. Use strong, complex passwords and change them often. I recommend passwords that are at least 8 characters long and include numbers, special characters, and a mix of upper and lower cases. Avoid personal, public information and words that can be found in a dictionary — cybercriminals can crack these easily. Test your password strength at Use a Phassphrase. It will show you the estimated time to crack it.
2. Never leave tech devices unattended. Whether it's your phone or your desktop, set a password and always lock it when you step away.
3. Sign up for eStatements in Online Banking. Mailed documents can put you at risk from dumpster divers with criminal intent.
4. Beware of suspicious emails and phone calls. Avoid visiting unknown websites or downloading software from untrusted sources.
5. Encrypt sensitive data on your workstation, laptop or mobile devices, and shred your paper documents. (e.g., SSN's, credit card information, student records, health information, etc.)
6. Be Wi-Fi savvy. Password protect and encrypt your Wi-Fi connection at home, and be careful about what information you access when using a public network.
7. Check your privacy settings. Be sure to optimize the privacy settings on all of your mobile apps and accounts online.
8. Keep your software up to date. All those update notifications might be annoying, but cybercriminals release new threats every day and updates are essential to your security.
9. Think twice before clicking. Cybercriminals use links, ads, websites, attachments and downloads to get your information. Check out the Phishing Test below for more information, and help #FightPhishing!
10. Talk with your family. Make sure everyone in your family understands how to #StaySafeOnline — kids and seniors can be especially vulnerable to cybercrime.
Would You Get Hooked By a Phishing Email?
Most cyber attacks start with a phishing email designed to trick you into providing your information, clicking a link, or downloading an infected attachment. You may be familiar with some of the more obvious signs of a phishing email, like spelling mistakes and strange email addresses, but cybercriminals are getting more and more sophisticated. These days, phishing emails can look pretty convincing, even to the trained eye.
Test your ability to spot the signs of a scam email with this interactive phishing quiz by Google.
So You Think You've Been Phished... Now What?
Concerned your information is in the wrong hands, or just want to be prepared? Learn how to take back control:
- Contact your Privacy Advocate, included with HomeFREE Checking Identity Theft Services
- Sign up for the After Identity Theft webinar (offered October 8 and 17)
- Recover From Fraud Action Plan
- Learn how to Spot Identity Theft on Your Credit Reports
- Learn how to Protect Yourself From Credit Card Fraud
- Fight Fraud with a Credit File Freeze
- Stay informed with Fraud Alerts & Advisories
* Identity theft insurance is underwritten by Lyndon Southern Insurance Company, a member of the Fortega family of companies. The information provided is a program summary. Please refer to the Identity Theft Expense Reimbursement Evidence of Coverage forms for additional information including details of benefits, specific exclusions, terms, conditions and limitations of coverage. Coverage is currently not available to residents of the state of New York and may not be available in other U.S. territories or jurisdictions in the future.
** Applicable to individuals age 18 and older who have a valid credit file. Credit monitoring, report and score are provided by TransUnion, subject to change. This credit score may not be consistent with the credit score model used by a lender, and therefore can not be relied upon to determine credit worthiness for any particular loan opportunity.