How to Protect Yourself Online
Keep yourself safe and protect your personal information online by following these simple rules:
Computer, Internet and Email Security Tips
Be protective of personal information
Before responding to any request for personal, financial, or account information, make sure you know who is asking for it and why they need it. Be exceptionally careful if a request is made with an urgent or threatening tone. Criminals use this trick to get your personal and/or account information to access your accounts or commit identity theft.
If you’re suspicious of any request, you should directly contact the company whose name is used in making the request to confirm the request is valid. If you think you‘ve provided personal or account information in response to a fraudulent email or website, change your password and any other authentication information (e.g. challenge questions, secret questions, etc.) and monitor your account activity frequently.
See How to Deal with Fraud and Identity Theft for more information on next steps.
Use anti-virus and anti-malware software
Make sure your computer has anti-virus and anti-malware protection software installed. This protects you against malicious software (also known as ‘malware’) and computer viruses. Ensure these programs are set to automatically update daily. Also, make sure your software is set up to scan all email attachments. And because we believe in helping you stay safe online, we're providing free anti-malware software to protect our online banking customers. To get this software, log into you Ally Bank account and go to the Security Center.
Don't respond to suspicious ("phishing") emails
Criminals send out fake emails to random email addresses hoping to reach real customers. These emails are called ‘phishing’ emails. It’s one of the ways criminals try to trick customers into giving personal information (account numbers, passwords, etc.).
If an email appears to be from Ally but looks suspicious, forward it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org then delete it immediately from your inbox. Do not open email attachments or click links in emails if you do not personally know the sender. Instead of clicking a link in an email, type the URL directly in your browser. Or use “favorites” to access the website.
Beware of suspicious ("spoofing") websites
Criminals create fake websites that look like real company websites in order to steal your personal information. Be cautious of links sent to you in emails. ‘Phishing’ emails include links to these fake sites. The best way to know that you are going to the real website is to type the URL directly in your browser or use “favorites” to access the website. As a rule of thumb, when entering personal information on a site look at the website address to be sure it starts with “https”.
Keep up with updates on your personal computer
Updated software helps protect against vulnerabilities. Install updates offered by your operating system and software provider(s) and use a current web browser.
Don’t share personal information on social networking sites
Social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace allow you to share your information online. However there are pieces of information you should always keep to yourself. Think carefully about sharing your Social Security Number (including the last 4 digits), date of birth, personal phone number, home address, or where you were born. Criminals can collect this information and use it to open accounts in your name.
Verify online requests for money by friends or contacts are real
Be extremely wary of people you’re connected to on social networks that ask for money through instant message (IM) or email. Fraudsters have been known to hack into social networks and assume the identity of a real user, then send messages to all of their contacts stating the person has been robbed or is stranded somewhere and needs you to wire money in order to get home. If you receive one of these requests, contact the person by phone and verify the request is real.
Avoid downloading files from unknown sources
Malicious software (also known as ‘malware’) and computer viruses can be hidden in email attachments and other files downloaded from the Internet. Before you download anything, verify you trust the source. Even when you receive files from friends and family, make sure your anti-virus software scans the files before opening them.
Online Security TipsGo paperless and use online services
You have secure access to your accounts when you’re online. Here are examples of online services that can help protect you against fraud:
- 24/7 account access - Accessing your accounts online helps you to detect identity crime earlier than if you only received paper statements monthly.
- Account Alerts - Setting up email alerts about account activity lets you identify fraud quickly.
- Electronic statements - Receiving your statements online instead of in the mail reduces the risk of mail fraud.
Only deal with secure sites
Always verify you are on a secure site before you enter your username and password. The address of a secure site begins with “https,” rather than “http.” It is OK for a home page to begin with “http” but you should always make sure you’re on an “https” page before entering your password. You can also read security details of sites by "double-clicking" on the padlock icon located at the top or bottom of your browser window. View the security certificate and make sure it matches the site.
Log off when you're done
Always log off from your online session when you’re done. This will help prevent anyone else using that computer from accessing your information.
Password & Pin Security Tips
Create strong passwords
Use passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs) that are easy to remember but hard for others to guess. Using a combination of upper case and lower case letters along with numbers and special characters – where allowed – makes your password more secure. Names, birthdays and common phrases are easy for others to guess. Choose different passwords for each of your online accounts and change them frequently.
Protect your passwords
Never write down or store your passwords in a file on your computer. Don’t share your username and password with others. Be cautious of sharing your usernames and passwords with sites, software, or services- especially when your personal information and money is involved.