Personal Finance: How You Can Protect Yourself from Cyber Crime

NEW YORK -- After nearly 100 million Americans and 6 million Canadians were left exposed in the recent massive hack of a major financial institution, consumers everywhere are asking: "How can I protect myself?" That can depend on where you bank and what you do.

1. Be sure your bank employs the most sophisticated protections available. As hackers are always on the hunt for vulnerabilities, find out if your bank's security platform constantly monitors its security protocols, procedures, and protections. The goal is to protect your personal information, emails, credit cards, and Social Security numbers from would-be cyber crooks.

2. Ask if your bank offers identity theft protection to its checking account customers. For example, Ridgewood Savings Bank checking customers automatically receive access to free ID Theft Resolution Services. Enhanced protection is also available by signing up for EZShield ID Protection Plus (additional fee applies). The service provides a vital layer that helps minimize the risk of identity theft, fraud, and stolen personal information. EZShield ID Protection Plus contains 3 important features:
a. ID restoration with a US-based Certified Resolution Specialist 24/7;
b. Dark web and credit monitoring;
c. Identity theft insurance with up to $1 million reimbursed for identity theft-related expenses, including lost wages incurred during the time period a customer is protected by EZShield.

3. Sign up for text and email alerts. Ridgewood offers powerful online and mobile banking tools to alert you to suspicious activity involving your checking account or debit card. Ridgewood debit cards also come with the ability to add the following convenient card controls:
a. Receive real-time alerts when your card is used, approved or declined;
b. Set limits on the location, merchant category, transaction type and dollar amount to control how and where the card is used;

c. Turn "off" your debit card to prevent unauthorized transactions if the card is lost or stolen.

4. Be careful about giving out account information. If you receive a phone call purportedly from your bank, do not give the caller your PIN or the 3-digit security code on your card. If someone asks for that information, it's usually a fraud-your bank should never call you to request confidential information. Hang up and call your bank directly. You can also check balances and account activity using Ridgewood's mobile and online banking applications.

5. Regularly check your account online to see if there has been any suspicious activity. It's a good idea to monitor your accounts yourself. You can quickly check balances and view activity by using Ridgewood's online and mobile banking tools. With Ridgewood's mobile app, you can monitor balances and recent transactions right from your phone. If something looks amiss, call your bank directly.

Here's the bottom line: pay attention to signs of possible fraud and diligently monitor your banking activity.

Terms and conditions apply. Products, services and benefits subject to change without notice. Message rates may apply. EZShield is a third-party company and is not affiliated with Ridgewood Savings Bank.

Member FDIC.
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