United Community Blog


Posted on July 1, 2022

We now live in two worlds: the physical world and the virtual world.

We can hop on a bike and ride to the park –and we can open an app and visit someone across the country without even leaving home. We can shop the aisles of our favorite boutiques and we can browse the online inventories of shops a half a world away. It’s an incredible and now essential convenience that adds joy and richness to life –and that comes with significant security risks. With the abundance of scams, hacking and other cyber threats, if you are not using yourdigital devices safely you can be puttingyour financial accounts and personally identifying information in jeopardy.

Fortunately, it’s easy to help keep your online life and your financial accounts safe by using a few simpletips, taking advantage of easy-to-use tools,and making some adjustments to your online habits.

Here’s where to start

Protective software – Viruses have been around for a long time, and they’re still a strategy of choice among cybercriminals. Installing antivirus software (including reputable free versions such as that from AVG) and keeping your device’s operating system and built-in security programs up to date are easy first steps forstaying safe and can protect you from spyware, ransomware and more malicious programs.

Passwords – Remember that passwords that are easy for you to remember are easy for criminals to guess. Update your passwords using a string of words, letters, numbers and symbols to make your online accounts safer.

Enable multifactor authentication – For accounts that offer it, enabling two-factor or multifactor authentication requires you to take extra steps to verify your identity every time you log in with a new device. This can prevent anyone from attempting to log in using an unfamiliar device, and you can usually opt to skip the extra step once your device is recognized by the account platform.

Use card controls – For extra peace of mind, take advantage of card control apps, like offered by United Community. With our card controlapp, you can monitor your payment card usage and even turn it off if you suspect fraudulent activity or lose your card. Of course, this is in addition to our already strong security offerings that come with United Community credit and debit cards.

Avoid public networks – Surfing the web on the Wi-Fi offered by your favorite coffee shop opens you up to a variety of threats because these networks are unsecured. Never use public networks to conduct financial transactions such as shopping online or logging into United Community digital banking.

Use social media wisely – Limit your virtual social circle to people you actually know in real life to prevent your activities from being seen by people who may be looking for their next victim. Secure your profiles with strong passwords and privacy settings, and avoid linking social media accounts. Also,remember that what’s posted to the internet stays on the internet... and to never post that you’re on vacation until you return safe and sound.

Beware of phishing – Emails that attempt to frighten you into taking immediate action, such as clicking on a link, opening an attachment or downloading software, are called phishing attacks. When successful, they typically result in the installation of malware or ransomware. Watch for urgent or threatening language, typos and grammatical mistakes. Remember that United Community will never contact you by email or by phone to request personally identifying information because we already have what we need to do business with our members!

For more information on keeping your United Community accounts safe or to learn more about our card controls feature, call us at 713-674-5778, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

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