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Online banking certainly provides great convenience -- and can save you a lot of time. Online banking lets you check your balances, transfer money between accounts, and pay bills. However, you need to be vigilant and protect your online accounts. Taking these simple precautions can go a long way toward stopping unauthorized access to your computer.

Protect your username and access code
Third parties may offer you services that require you to give them your access information (Username and access code). Proceed with caution before giving any third party private information. Consider the privacy and security risks. Anyone to whom you give your access information could access your account information and conduct transactions using Community Financial's eAccess. You are responsible for protecting the confidentiality of your passwords. Community Financial cannot take responsibility for access or transactions that result from your failure to protect your access information.
Action: Do not give your username and access code to anyone you don't trust.

Log in to your account on a regular basis, even if you don't have any transactions to do.
Simply take a look. It only takes a moment to review your information so that you know what's going on -- and to make sure nothing is wrong.
Action: If you do discover a problem or a discrepancy, contact Community Financial immediately.

Manage your access code
Despite all of the media attention given to unauthorized computer usage, many people continue to use passwords such as family names, pet names and birthdays that are all too easy to guess. A much better password is one that you make by combining randomly selected letters and numbers. If a string of random letters and numbers is too hard to remember, try using two unrelated words combined with a number (for example, skate2dye). It is recommended that you change your password every 30 to 60 days.
Action: Change your password at least once a quarter. If you suspect there may be a problem, immediately change your password and call your financial institution.

Don't ever try to access your account through an emailed link -- no matter how much that email looks like it came from your financial institution. These kinds of emails that request you to log into your bank account are most likely 'phishing' scams. For more info on phishing scams, www.scambusters.org/phishing.html. Plus, don't give out any personal information if someone who claims to be from Community Financial contacts you by email.
Action: The best way to be reasonably sure that you really are dealing with your financial institute is to always initiate the contact yourself.

Check for secure connections. When you log into eAccess, make sure that the page where you type your login information always starts with https: The 's' means that the URL is on a secure server.
Action: Never type confidential information or passwords into a non-secure page.

Install Barriers. If you are doing online banking, your computer should have the following software installed:
  • A firewall. Firewalls 'block the door' to your computer so 'hackers' can't access the information on your hard drive. To learn more about firewalls, visit www.scambusters.org/Scambusters41.html
  • Spyware blockers. Spyware is any program that secretly downloads onto your system when you access the Internet, often through pop-up ads or attachments. The software gathers information about you from your computer and sends it to 'third parties' -- who could be scammers who will steal your money. You can learn more about spyware here www.scambusters.org/viruses.html
  • Anti-Virus software. Scammers sometimes send virus 'trojan horse' programs by email, and anti-virus software installed on your system can stop these. To learn more, visit www.scambusters.org/anti-virus.html
  • Use a computer password. Most people do not use the built-in password capabilities with their personal computers. If you are going to use your computer to make purchases and manage your finances online, consider setting up your computer to ask for a password each time you turn on the computer.
  • Use a screen saver. Most computers can be configured to activate a screen saver that pops up after a few minutes of inactivity. The screen saver is a great way to hide the information on your screen from others while you are away from your computer. You can configure most screen savers to ask for a password before returning the computer to its previous state. Although desktop security may not be a big concern at home, the opportunity to manage finances or make purchases at work may make it necessary to review the computer security measures you have in place.

Action: Install a good firewall, spyware blocking software, and updated anti-virus software program.
Action: Report all problems and suspicious activity immediately.

Other important notes
Some Web browsers and third-party software give you the option to automatically remember your log in Username and Password. Please take care in using these features because stored passwords can be used by anyone with access to your computer. You should only use such a feature if you can prevent unauthorized access to your computer.
Public access to the Internet is now offered in many libraries, airports, copy centers and cafes. Be careful if you access Community Financial's eAccess through a public computer. Features built into Web browsers may allow the next user to obtain access to your accounts. If you use a public computer to access your accounts, be sure you are completely signed off when you are done and that you have closed out the browser session.
Action: Never use public computers for transactions that involve private information.

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