Posted by Stephen Hoesel on Apr 16, 2018
Monday's guest was Mike Biedenfeld of United Bank of Iowa who outlined a litany of things to consider/do to protect your assets from scams/identity theft/etc.   This is a growing problem for everybody as the "bad guys" are becoming more computer savvy and ingenious in devising ways to access your money.  A summary of key points follows:
  • Do not open emails from somebody you may not know.  If you suspect something place your cursor over the address and see if it is a familiar email.  Some thieves are using legal email addresses and names to deceive you;
  • Google your name and see what is on the world wide web about you.  If key items of your history such as mother's maiden name, etc., do not use those items in developing secondary challenge questions with password protection.    Be especially careful of obituary information that is associated with your search as that information must be avoided in passwords;
  • Assure that passwords are not simple four letters or numerals - use a combination of capital letters, numbers, symbols, and small letters.  Make it difficult.  Also, work with your services to use phone confirmation of significant items in your account.  Credit cards and banks are becoming very good in this regard;
  • Consider contracting for a web scrambler to disguise your information when you search on the web;
  • On April 25th from 11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. United Bank of Iowa will be providing free services of a heavy duty shredding service.  This is a good chance to remove old files from your home;
  • Back-up computer files regularly and do not save the back-ups in the same facility as your computer;
  • Look for data skimmers whenever you use your Credit Card and/or debit card.  If something is suspicious contact the merchant;
  • On financial accounts work with your bank/credit card to set use parameters for which you will receive notification;
  • Computers need both antivirus and anti-pfishing software.  Do not go onto the web without it;
  • Do not save your passwords on your computer.  It is easy and convenient for computers to ask if you want to save your password - do not do so;
  • New schemes are the Secret Shopper; please cash a check to gain money for both you and the criminal, Facebook Dating services, contracting to advertise on your car.