Americans are more connected than ever. We’re more apt to notice a missing phone before a missing wallet. More inclined to send an instantaneous text or email than a letter. And increasingly likely to conduct financial transactions using a smart device from the comfort of our home. Could Alexander Graham Bell ever have imagined such a reality? Surely the creators of The Jetsons must have.
But all that convenience comes at a price—one that has left consumers increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Reported fraud instances are up 25 percent this year even as new technology and enhanced security protocols like chip cards and multi-factor authentication are implemented to stave off emerging threats. So what’s a banker to do?
If you’re Peoples State Bank of Prairie du Chien, Wis.; Farmers & Merchants Bank of Berlin, Wis.; or New Tripoli Bank in Pennsylvania, you take part in a national movement to ensure that every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. All three banks:
- have been recognized as National Cyber Security Awareness Month Champions by the National Cyber Security Alliance for helping promote a safer, more secure Internet;
- outline their security practices to safeguard their customers personal and financial account information; and
- provide links to industry resources to help consumers limit their exposure or report suspected fraudulent activity to law enforcement.
People State Bank also provides periodic training for employees. And as part of its “knowledge is power” mantra, the community bank offers details on the latest security alerts for customers.
Farmers & Merchants Bank has a similar “forewarned is forearmed” approach to data security, using its newsletter to remind customers of its information-collection policies and products geared to diminish the risk of debit fraud and help identify fraudulent checks.
Meanwhile, New Tripoli Bank uses its Web presence to outline the most common point of attack for its commercial clientele—business e-mail compromise—and how they can protect their businesses in the event of a compromised account.
With recent legislation and support from the White House, cybersecurity remains a popular topic of discussion, and rightfully so. If each of us does our part—implementing stronger security practices and raising community awareness—everyone will benefit from a safer online world that even the Jetsons can envy.