Washington, D.C. (Oct. 2, 2023)—In recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) and the nation’s community banks are offering tips to consumers on practical measures they can take to protect their sensitive data and reduce risk.

“Strong security measures and staying informed and vigilant go a long way in protecting individuals and their valuable data from the ever-evolving threats in the digital landscape,” ICBA President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey said. “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 vigilance.”

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 unsolicited 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.

  • Using strong and unique passwords: Create strong, complex passwords for online accounts, and avoid reusing the same password across multiple platforms. Consider using a password manager to securely store and generate unique passwords.

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

  • Using two-factor authentication: Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to your mobile device, in addition to your password.

  • Guarding against phishing attempts: Be cautious of suspicious emails, messages, or calls asking for personal information. Avoid clicking on links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. Verify the legitimacy of any requests before providing sensitive information.

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.

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 45,000 locations nationwide, community banks employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding $5.9 trillion in assets, $4.8 trillion in deposits, and $3.9 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.