ICBA Offers Tips to Help Consumers Protect Financial Data During Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Oct. 05, 2022

ICBA Press Release Banner 2020

Washington, D.C. (Oct. 5, 2022) — In recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the nation’s community banks are reminding consumers of practical steps to help safeguard their sensitive data and mitigate losses in the event of a data breach or compromise.

User connectivity to the Internet is at an all-time high, with 45% of respondents citing that they are always online, but nearly two-thirds (62%) of users lack access to cybersecurity knowledge, according to the National Cybersecurity Alliance. Out of more than 1,700 incidents of cybercrime that were disclosed by participants, 36% were phishing attacks that led to a loss of money or data, while 24% reported falling victim to identity theft.

“Cyberattacks and threats are constantly evolving, underscoring the need to stay vigilant and take proactive measures to guard against cyberattacks,” said ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey. “Consumers can take comfort knowing that community banks take the protection of their customers’ data very seriously, adhere to some of the strictest data privacy laws of any sector, and provide strong education to help reinforce a culture of cybersecurity.”

How to Reduce Your Risk

While there is no foolproof way to avoid online identity theft, you can minimize your risk by:

  • Limiting disclosed information—Never respond to requests for personal information such as your banking ID, account number, username or password, even if they appear to originate from your bank, government agencies or companies with which you have a relationship.

  • Taking advantage of security features—Enable the strongest multi-factor authentication (MFA) offered by your bank, and enable it through a trusted mobile device, an authenticator app, or a secure token.

  • Performing a system purge. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Ensure all software on internet-connected devices is current.

  • Shredding documents with personal or sensitive information and changing passwords regularly.

How to Respond to a Data Breach

Monitor account activity for transaction irregularities and report discrepancies to your community bank immediately. In the unfortunate event of an account compromise, to minimize your risk:

  • Consider a security freeze on your credit report to restrict access to your credit file.

  • Set up a fraud alert, which directs banks to verify your identity before opening a new account, issuing an additional card, or increasing the credit limit on an existing account.

  • Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and to your local law enforcement and state attorney general.

Learn more about how to protect your digital life during Cybersecurity Awareness Month by visiting the Stay Safe Online website. Additional resources are available through the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Join the conversation online using the hashtag #BeCyberSmart.

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute 99 percent of all banks, employ more than 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding more than $5.8 trillion in assets, over $4.8 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at www.icba.org

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