We asked Pete Begin, VP Senior Security and Fraud Prevention Officer, for his top tips on protecting your identity and your finances.
What is the most important advice you have for people looking to keep their private information private and secure?
First, it’s very important to keep personal details secure. So many times, we see people who end up in difficult situations because they share account numbers, online banking credentials, or passwords. These pieces of information are incredibly sensitive; you should not share them with anyone for any reason.
What advice do you have for protecting yourself online and in the digital world generally?
We cannot stress this one enough: do not open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or click on links or attachments in emails. Oftentimes, a seemingly innocent click can lead to financial and identity chaos. Criminals use your personal data to steal your identity, make fraudulent purchases, and generally cause problems for you. So only click if you are sure that it is legitimate.
In the age of the internet, are there still phone scams out there?
Phone scams continue to be a huge problem for people around the country. The criminals are getting more sophisticated every day, meaning we have to double-down on our own vigilance. For example, scammers can now make their phone number appear to be from your area or even your bank or financial institution. That’s why we advise customers never to respond to phone calls about their computer asking for remote access. And even if a phone number appears to be from a legitimate source, we need to make sure to verify and never provide personal information. At Mascoma Bank, for example, we will never call you and ask you for your passwords or account numbers.