Protect Members from the “Birthday as Password” Trap (and other online banking blunders)

When it comes to promoting online banking to members, your focus may be primarily on convenience.  While this is certainly a cornerstone of the importance of this offering, another figure that should not be relegated to the background is security.  Because members may think nothing of logging into their account wherever, and wherever, with little thought  to the many lurking threats to their information, we asked our Technology Services staffers to share what advice credit unions should be passing on to their members to keep them safe – and connected to your credit union.

Here are their top ten member security tips!

  1. Check and update your computer software, including Windows operating systems (and others like Mac OS) and Web browsers. Threats from viruses and attackers often take advantage of vulnerabilities in these software packages. Contact the software vendor directly to access any available updates.
  2. Install antivirus/anti-spyware software to protect your computer and detect and remove viruses. Make sure your software is up-to-date, because new viruses appear daily.
  3. Install software for spam filtering and spam blocking.
  4. Be wary of e-mail offers that come from a source you don’t recognize. If you believe an e-mail is fraudulent, don’t reply to the e-mail, click any links within the e-mail, or open any attachments.
  5. Be wary of any e-mail or pop-up messages declaring your accounts in jeopardy or asking for personal information.
  6. Don’t respond to “spammed” e-mails. If an e-mail seems suspicious, don’t click the link asking to be taken off the sender’s list. A response only confirms the accuracy of your e-mail address and may result in even more messages filling up your inbox.
  7. Never submit your credit card details or other personal information on non-secure websites. Before submitting your user name and password to log on, make sure your browser window displays the closed padlock symbol and the URL begins with “https://”. Secure webpages show a locked padlock icon that appears in yellow, or in a yellow box, at the bottom of the Web browser screen.
  8. Never share your user names and passwords or store them on your computer.
  9. Be cautious when using public computers at home (including those at libraries, Internet cafés, and schools) and when traveling abroad, or using shared ones, such as home computers. Public computers are traditionally on open networks and can be susceptible to monitoring without your knowledge.
  10. After you’ve accessed sensitive account information online, log off the website and close your Web browser.


When sharing these tips, make sure to include CU staff as well, reminding them of the important role they play in the security of your members’ accounts.