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Security

Security is the most important issue BrandBank faces in making Online Banking available for our customers. Using industry standard techniques ensures that your personal and financial information remains confidential. BrandBank uses security technologies such as your personal login ID and password, encryption and firewalls. The combination of your login ID and password enables you to be uniquely identified to BrandBank's Online Banking. It is your responsibility to keep your password secure. You will also need to use a secure browser. Certain browsers have the ability to communicate securely by encrypting the information as it passes across the Internet. This method of communication is called Secure Socket Layer (SSL). BrandBank requires the use of a secure browser before you connect to Online Banking. Additionally, your information passes through a "firewall" which is a computer specifically designed to keep out unauthorized users.

How to ensure that your session is secure!

As you browse though the resources available on the Internet, you will notice that your browser's status bar changes with the Web page you are viewing. For example, check your Netscape browser for the security icon in the lower left corner of the browser. Microsoft displays the icon in the lower right corner of the browser window. You should see a pad lock graphic either locked or unlocked.

Fraud

Fraud is a crime. It is a deception deliberately practiced in order to secure unfair or unlawful gain - usually, to obtain property or services unjustly. Listed below are some common types of fraud.

How to report fraud: If you believe you have been the victim of fraud, please contact us immediately at 770.963.9224.

Types of Fraud
Check ScamsScammers will overpay for an item purchased and ask the difference to be wired back. Typically, the check is counterfeit or forged for a higher amount.
Credit Card FraudCredit Card fraud can occur when someone takes your card and uses it without your consent. It can also happen when the card sits safely in your wallet.
Mail FraudMail fraud occurs when scammers illegally intercept your mail or when you receive unrealistic offers.
PharmingPharming occurs when you type in a Web address and it redirects you to a fraudulent Web site without your knowledge or consent. The Web site will try and look similar to the legitimate site in hopes of capturing your confidential information.

Remember, BrandBank will never send unsolicited emails asking clients to provide, update, or verify personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security numbers, PINs, credit or Debit Card numbers, or other confidential information.
PhishingCriminals use fraudulent emails (known as phishes) or pop-up Web pages that appear legitimate and are designed to deceive you into sharing personal or account information. The phishes often include logos of legitimate companies, content from their Web sites, and names of real employees.

Many scammers randomly generate email addresses - that's why you may have received fraudulent emails that appear to be from banks you do not have an account with. They may also obtain email addresses online from Web pages, chat rooms, online auctions, directories or other sources.
Phone SolicitationsScammers will attempt to randomly call people with hopes to lure them with cash gifts or prizes in exchange for personal or account information.
Print FraudScammers will use local and community newspapers publishing fake advertisements with special rates and offers. If clients call, they are asked for their personal information and for an advance payment before the transaction can be completed.

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Identity Theft

Identity theft is a serious crime where people try to illegally use your personal information for their own gain. Information like your name, address, date of birth, Social Security Number, online banking passwords and PINs, credit and debit card numbers are keys to your financial information. When scammers obtain your confidential information, they can charge expenses to your accounts, create new accounts in your name, or use your personal information for other illegal purposes.

What to do if you are a victim of identify theft:

How your identity can be stolen
Searching your trashThis is called "Dumpster Diving" - a term to describe people who rummage through your trash to find unshredded information like credit card offers, old bills, and bank statements.
Intercepting your mailThieves can complete "change of address" forms and receive mail that's intended for you.
Stealing your wallet or purseYour wallet or purse can contain a wealth of information about you including your account numbers, address, and date of birth.
Accessing your employer's filesYour place of work stores a lot of your personal and business information and can be a target for identity thieves. Talk to your company's security officer to learn how your information is protected.
Getting information directly from youSometimes, thieves pose as telemarketers, or someone who might have a legitimate reason to ask for your personal information (like your bank, employer, or landlord). They even use fake emails and Web sites to try and obtain information from you.


Protect yourself from identity theft
Sign the back of your credit and debit cardsThis minimizes the possibility of someone else using your card.
Keep your credit card receiptsDon't throw your receipts away. They can help you double check your bank and card statements and identify any suspicious activity.
Report lost or stolen credit cards immediatelyIf you lose your credit or debit cards or if they are stolen, it's important that you contact your bank immediately.
Cancel and destroy all unused cardsCall the banks to cancel the cards and destroy the cards before throwing them out. When you destroy the cards, make sure the numbers are no longer recognizable.
Leave out personal information on your checksDon't include your driver's license, telephone, or Social Security Numbers on your checks. By omitting this information, you keep confidential information away from prying eyes.
Promptly collect incoming mailYour incoming mail has clues to your personal information. Make sure you collect it promptly.
Shred your junk mailMake sure you shred all your junk mail before you throw it away - especially credit card offers which could contain confidential information.
Don't drop your outgoing mail in your mailboxIt is safer to drop your outgoing mail in official Postal Service collection boxes than your mailbox - especially if your mailbox is not locked.
Review your credit reportsMake sure they're error-free. There are three credit-reporting agencies whose reports can show different information. It's best that you review them at least once a year.
Don't give out your personal information to unsolicited requestsUnsolicited email and pop-up Web page requests for personal information can be scams. If a request seems suspicious, call the company to check it out.
Keep your personal information in a safe placeDon't store a list of credit card numbers, PIN numbers, or passwords in your wallet or on your computer. Memorize this confidential information.

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Protect Yourself

Online Security

The Internet is a convenient way to access your accounts and communicate with BrandBank. By following these tips, you can enjoy a safe and secure online experience.

  • Keep passwords to yourself. Never share your passwords or PINs with anyone.
  • Memorize your passwords. Never write your passwords down.
  • Create difficult passwords. Be creative with your passwords. Stay away from obvious passwords like your zip code, year of birth, or sensitive information such as your mother's maiden name or your Social Security Number.
  • Change your password often. Change your passwords every 30 to 60 days.
  • Do not share your passwords. If you share your passwords, you've given that person or entity permission to access your personal and account information.

Online Banking

  • Stay at your computer once you sign on. Never leave your computer unattended while using any online banking or investing service.
  • Sign off when you're done. It's important to sign off completely when you are finished banking online. This is even more critical if you're using a computer that other people can access.
  • Use only secure sites. If you are providing financial information, be sure the site uses secure communications. One of the ways to determine if a site is secure is to look for the padlock icon usually located at the bottom of the Web page. If you double click on the icon, a pop-up window will appear with information about the Web site. The information in this window should match the Web site you're visiting.
  • Trust is important. Do business only with financial institutions that you know and trust.
  • Be on the lookout for suspicious Web sites. Watch out for copycat sites that may try to look like financial institutions or other trusted companies that you do business with. To make sure you're visiting a legitimate site, type the business' address directly into your browser, or use a bookmark that you previously created.
  • Verify that it's FDIC insured. If you're considering an online bank, verify the bank is legitimate and that its deposits are insured by the FDIC.
  • Use public computers with caution. Only access your personal financial information from a computer you trust. Internet kiosks and cyber cafes may not be as secure as your personal computer.

Shopping Online

  • Secure shopping. When placing orders online, check for the "closed padlock," which is usually located in the bottom corner of your browser. The padlock icon indicates that when you submit your information, it will be sent securely. If you double click on the icon, a window will appear with information about the Web site. The information in this window should match the Web site you're visiting.
  • Trusted merchants. Only shop with online stores that you know and trust.

Browsing the Internet

  • Review site policies. Before entering any personal or financial information on a Web site, review the security and privacy policies posted on that site. These policies usually describe how the Web site collects and uses information about you. By knowing more about the policies of a site, you can decide if you want to continue visiting the site.
  • Keep your browser updated. Newer versions of Internet browsers have the latest safety features that protect your computer from dangerous programs like spyware and viruses. If you have an older version of a browser, make sure you install the latest versions on your computer.
  • Use caution when downloading. Some software downloads from the Internet can harm your computer and compromise your security. Do not download any software from Web sites you do not recognize or trust.
  • Keep anti-virus software up to date. By keeping anti-virus updated, you can not only avoid viruses but help decrease the number of fraudulent emails and Web pages you might encounter.
  • Delete personal or financial information on public computers. If you use a public computer, someone else may be able to access your information or trace the Web sites you visited. To avoid this possibility, delete the cache memory on the computer to remove any traces of your visit. All Internet browsers have a "help" section that tells you how to delete the cache.
  • Beware of spyware. Spyware is software that tracks how you use your computer and which Web sites you visit. Spyware programs could get installed on your computer without your knowledge when you visit certain Web sites, open unsolicited emails, or click on links in emails.

Scammers also use "key-logging" programs that track how you use your keyboard. If a key-logging program is installed on your computer, you could unknowingly reveal sensitive information like your PINs or passwords to scammers. You should consider buying and keeping current anti-spyware software to better help protect your confidential information. The software will help identify and delete any spyware or key-logging programs installed on your computer.

Anti-spyware software can be purchased at retail stores, such as Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy, as well as downloaded from the Internet by providers such as McAfee and Norton.

Email

  • Use secure messaging when it's available. Most Online Banking applications - including BrandBank Online Banking - have secure messaging. You can access secure email when you log into Online Banking. You can also securely communicate with the Bank through our secure contact forms. Secure emails and online forms ensure that your personal information is transmitted safely over the Internet.
  • Use caution when opening unsolicited emails and attachments. Viruses can be passed along via email and harm your computer. Be careful when opening emails - especially from someone you don't know.
  • Don't click and tell. Never respond to unsolicited emails asking you to provide, update, or verify your personal and account information. These emails are scams. BrandBank will never send unsolicited emails asking for personal or account information, such as passwords, Social Security Numbers, PINs, credit or Debit Card numbers, or other confidential information.

Credit Card Security

Credit card fraud costs cardholders and banks hundreds of millions of dollars every year. Credit card fraud often occurs after the card is stolen. However, thieves can also fraudulently use your account number while your card sits safely in your wallet or purse. These tips will help you minimize the chances of credit card fraud:

  • Sign your cards. Sign your cards immediately once they arrive in the mail.
  • Store your PIN in a safe place. Memorize your PIN. Do not write it down.
  • Use your credit card number carefully. Don't enter your card number online unless you're on a secure site, and don't send your credit card number to anyone in an unsecured email.
  • Maintain your records. Keep a record of all your account numbers, expiration dates, and contact information for each issuer in a secure place. This will come in handy if your wallet or purse is lost or stolen.
  • Report a lost or stolen card immediately. If you act quickly, you will minimize the potential loss and liability to your accounts.
  • Save and match receipts. Save your receipts and compare them against your billing statements. When discarding receipts, tear them up or shred them so no one can access them in your trash.
  • Monitor your statements monthly. Make sure you recognize all charges on your financial statements. If you see any suspicious transactions, contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately.
  • Watch voided transactions. Keep a close watch on store credits and other cancelled transactions. Carefully review your receipts and statements and make sure voided transactions do not post to your account.
  • Destroy duplicates. Do not leave carbon copies of your receipts behind. Make sure you tear or shred the receipts when you discard them as they contain important information about your identity and accounts.
  • Carry only what's necessary. Only carry cards that you need, leaving others in a safe place at home.
  • Transact with only those you trust. Don't give out your account number unless you know and trust the company.

ATM Security

Here are some precautions to consider when using an ATM:

  • Avoid going to the ATM alone at night. If you do need to access your accounts after dark, make sure the ATM and parking lot are well lit.
  • Don't use an ATM if you notice any suspicious activity. It is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you notice suspicious activity, find another ATM or come back at a later time. Once you feel safe, report any suspicious activity to the police.
  • Don't count your money at the ATM. Wait until you are in your car or, even better, safely at home.
  • Keep your car running. When using a drive-up ATM, keep your doors locked, passenger windows rolled up, and the car running.
  • Prepare ahead of time. Fill out all deposit slips before you reach the ATM.

Identity Theft

  • For more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft and the steps you can take to safeguard your computers and personal information, visit The Federal Trade Commission's website to www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
BrandBank  P.O. Box 1110, Lawrenceville, GA 30046 | 770.963.9224 BrandBank is the trade name for The Brand Banking Company.