Lifestyle Trends & Tips, Trends & Tips

10 Safe Shopping Tips for Cyber Monday

During your online shopping on Cyber Monday, you will likely land on one or more online retail shopping sites.  Here are some tips for shopping safely online.

  1. Monitor your bank accounts frequently:  Turn on notifications to be alerted when purchases are made. Many banking apps allow users to set mobile notifications for all account activity.
  2. Type the URL into the address bar. Instead of just clicking a link to take you to your chosen retailer’s website, it’s safer to type the retailer’s URL into the address bar on your web browser. It may take a little more effort, but this simple action can help to prevent you from visiting a fake or malicious website.
  3. Get email savvy – Be aware of the emails coming in and going out of your inbox, especially opening any attachments. Be sure to verify that the email is coming from a trusted source before clicking or applying for any item.
  4. Use a credit card rather than a debit card – Fraudulent charges are no fun whether it’s a charge to your credit card or debit card. Know that complications may be more severe for a debit card because it is usually linked directly to your checking account.
  5. Practice “good password hygiene” – Be mindful to create new passwords rather than simply reusing passwords. Use a strong password of 8 characters or more, the longer, the better.
  6. Beware of phantom sites – If the deal looks too good to be true, it probably is! Comparison shopping is great for finding the best deals, but stick to sites you are familiar with. And trust your instincts. If you don’t feel comfortable buying or bidding on an item over the web, or if you feel pressured to place your order immediately, maybe you shouldn’t.
  7. Keep your browser up to date – Not only is keeping your browser up to date effective for shopping purposes, but the older your browser is, the weaker it is when defending against viruses and malware.
  8. Make sure the Internet connection is secure. Don’t trust a site just because it claims to be secure.  Before you give your payment information, check for indicators that security software is in place.
  9. Don’t shop on public WiFi: Hackers can gain access to personal, confidential information, including bank account information. Don’t let yourself fall victim by giving them access to your personal information. Always use a secure network.
  10. Set up two-step authentication: This second layer of security is a great way to ensure that you are the only person who signs into your account.

For more tips on how to shop safely, click here.

Trends & Tips

Cyber Security Month

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and we’re sharing some tips with you to be sure you stay safe this holiday season while shopping online or at your local brick and mortar stores. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is commemorating its 15th year initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cyber security. The  collaborative effort between government and industry professionals is to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, and help reduce occurrences of cyber-threats.

The National Cyber Security Alliance is emphasizing four key messages this month which are as follows:

  • Cyber security is our shared responsibility and we all must work together to improve our nation’s cyber security.
  • Strengthen the nation’s cyber security ecosystem.
  • Tackle it together: Cyber security is a cross-cutting, cross-sector problem, so we have got to tackle it together.
  • Build up the cyber security workforce across all sectors and secure critical infrastructure from cyber threats.

Here at First County Bank, we encourage you to protect your accounts while shopping on your cell phone. Mobile technology is changing the way we think of our wallet. Along with using your physical debit or credit card you may now also access your accounts with your mobile device – often referred to as a “Digital Wallet.” Digital Wallets may be used to conveniently pay for goods and services; manage your payments and accounts; receive offers from merchants you know and trust; track and spend reward or loyalty points; store digital receipts and warranty information; and get alerts about your account and spending.

Similar to the way you protect your physical wallet it is important to protect your digital wallet. Here are a few tips to help make sure your Digital Wallet is as secure as it is convenient.

  • Keep Your Login Credentials Secure: Easy access to usernames and passwords leads to misuse.
  • Use Device Security Features: Set devices to require a password before they can be used.
  • Use a Unique Password for Your Digital Wallet: Use a strong password and don’t use
    the same password you use for email or social networking sites.
  • Keep Your Device Updated: Hardware and software manufacturers release frequent updates
    to optimize performance and security.
  • Use Security Software: Activate anti-virus and anti-malware software.
  • Use the Right App: Only install apps from the appropriate trusted app store.
  • Connect to Secure Networks: Secure network connections usually require passwords and
    are identified as “WPA or WPA2.” Unsecure networks are available to the public and may be
    labeled as a “WEP” connection.
  • Monitor Your Accounts: First County Bank mobile banking allows you to set up account
    alerts.
  • Keep Your Private Stuff Private: Don’t share sensitive data. First County Bank will never
    ask for private information such as passwords or account numbers.
  • Don’t click on Random Links: Avoid links received via text even when you think you know
    the sender.
  • Remove Compromised Cards: If your physical card is lost or stolen remove it from your
    digital wallet.

Contact First County Bank immediately if your mobile device is lost or stolen, an individual card stored in your Digital Wallet is lost or stolen, or if you suspect that your account has been compromised. If you have any questions please call our CustomerFirst Contact Center at (203) 462-4400 (Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.).

For more information on how to stay safe, please visit the e-fraud section of our website. https://www.firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection

Trends & Tips

Warning Signs of Identity Theft

If your wallet, Social Security number, or other personal information is lost or stolen, there are steps you can take to help protect yourself from identity theft. Watch out for these warning signs that someone has stolen your information:

  • You see withdrawals from your bank account that you can’t explain.
  • You don’t get your bills or other mail.
  • Merchants refuse your checks.
  • Debt collectors call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • You find unfamiliar accounts or charges on your credit report.
  • Medical providers bill you for services you didn’t use.
  • Your health plan rejects your legitimate medical claim because the records show you’ve reached your benefits limit.
  • A health plan won’t cover you because your medical records show a condition you don’t have.
  • The IRS notifies you that more than one tax return was filed in your name, or that you have income from an employer you don’t work for.
  • You get notice that your information was compromised by a data breach at a company where you do business or have an account.

Visit https://www.firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection for resources in case you detect one of these warning signs.

 

Insurance Products, Trends & Tips

National Insurance Awareness Day

 

Today, Thursday, June 28th is National Insurance Awareness Day. June 28th is observed each year as a day to review your insurance coverage.

More often than not, we find ourselves getting caught up in our fast-paced lives leaving little thought to insurance. However, having proper coverage can offer peace of mind for loved ones in the event of damage, illness or death.

At First County Bank we understand these needs and the importance of having proper insurance coverage. To learn more about the selection of affordable life insurance and annuity products First County Bank has available click here or talk to your local banker.

Trends & Tips

Engage at Every Age -Tips for Internet Safety

Those aged 65 and older are more digitally connected than ever. Approximately 42% of older adults report owning smartphones, a figure that has more than doubled in the last five years. 67% of adults ages 65 and older go online.

As those of us aged 65 and older increasingly embrace technology, it is important to be aware of and protect ourselves against internet fraud. Fraudsters often target digitally connected older Americans with email and website scams, seeking personal information and financial data. At any age, following these tips can help you avoid internet fraud:

  • Use strong and unique passwords. Never share your passwords with anyone. Your passwords should also be complex (i.e., at least eight characters and include numbers, upper and lowercase letters and symbols).
  • Access the internet from a secure location. When connecting to the internet, especially when banking online, only use computers and networks you know and trust.
  • Secure your computer. Security software is essential, especially when accessing your financial data online. Be sure you have a firewall turned on and are running antivirus software. First County Bank utilizes a URL (web address) that begins with “https” as this signifies a secure connection.

For more security tips or to continue reading this article, click here.

Digital Connection, Trends & Tips

Introducing #DigitalConnection

First County Bank is excited to announce the launch of a new blog series, #DigitalConnection. #DigitalConnection will serve as a source for the latest information on the Bank’s digital products and services.

#DigitalConnection will be regularly published and will provide information on how First County Bank’s online and mobile products can help make banking easier and more convenient.

We hope these posts will serve as a useful resource to enhance your overall banking experience.

Stay tuned for future editions of #DigitalConnection.

Trends & Tips

Small Business Guide to Corporate Account Takeover

Corporate account takeover is a type of fraud where thieves gain access to a business’s finances to make unauthorized transactions, including transferring funds from the company, creating and adding new fake employees to payroll, and stealing sensitive customer information that may not be recoverable.

Cyber thieves target employees through phishing, phone calls, and even social networks. It is common for thieves to send emails posing as a bank, a delivery company, court, or the Better Business Bureau. Once the email is opened, malware is loaded on the computer which then records login credentials and passcodes and reports them back to the criminals.

How do I protect myself and my small business?
Consider these tips to ensure your business is well prepared:

  • Educate your employees. You and your employees are the first line of defense against corporate account takeover. A strong security program paired with employee education about the warning signs, safe practices, and responses to a suspected takeover are essential to protecting your company and customers.
  • Protect your online environment. It is important to protect your cyber environment just as you would your cash and physical location. Do not use unprotected internet connections. Encrypt sensitive data and keep updated virus protections on your computer. Use complex passwords and change them periodically.
  • Partner with us to prevent unauthorized transactions. Talk to us about programs that safeguard you from unauthorized transactions. Positive Pay and other services offer call backs, multi-factor authentication, multi-person approval processes and batch limits that help protect you from fraud.
  • Pay attention to suspicious activity and react quickly. Look out for unexplained account or network activity, pop ups, and suspicious emails. If detected, immediately contact your financial institution, stop all online activity and remove any systems that may have been compromised. Keep records of what happened.
  • Understand your responsibilities and liabilities. The account agreement with your bank will detail what commercially reasonable security measures are required in your business. It is critical that you understand and implement the security safeguards in the agreement. If you don’t, you could be liable for losses resulting from a takeover.

For questions, feel free to contact our CustomerFirst Contact Center at 203.462.4400 (Mon. – Fri., 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.). To read more articles like this, click here or visit: www.firstcountybank.com/your-security.

Bank News, Trends & Tips

Homebuyer Seminar: Wednesday, April 25th

Buying or refinancing a home? Learn where to start, what to consider and the do’s & don’ts.

Join First County Bank Mortgage Loan Originator, Justyna Nurczyk and Fairfield County mortgage experts to learn the ins and outs of the home-buying process. Wednesday, April 25 5:30-7:00 PM 469 Westport Ave. Norwalk, CT 06850 Seating is limited, please RSVP.

MEET THE EXPERTS:

  • Arlene Bubbico Realtor, Coldwell Banker
  • Annie Bonanno Consultant, Credit Repair Solutions
  • Richard Sandor, Esq. Attorney-At-Law

DETAILS:

  • Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 – 5:30pm to 7:00pm
  • Location: Norwalk Branch, 469 Westport Avenue, Norwalk CT
  • Contact: Norwalk Branch, 203.462.4415

For more info and to RSVP call (203)462-4415 or email norwalk1@firstcountybank.com. Refreshments will be served.

Smart Savings Tips, Trends & Tips

10 Tools for Success in Financial Literacy Month

If you’re struggling to find a way to analyze your finances, get a jumpstart by considering these tools for success provided at FinancialLiteracyMonth.com:

  • Free Webinars – Sign up for free webinars designed to help you on your path to financial wellness. Topics include goal setting, credit reporting, managing credit, debt repayment, and budgeting.
  • Income Worksheet – Use the income worksheet to help you determine the amount of income you can realistically count on.
  • Net Worth Worksheet – Calculating your net worth is as simple as comparing what you owe (liabilities) and what you own (assets).
  • Debt Load Worksheet – Create an accurate picture of your debt obligations.
  • Financial Priorities Worksheet – Creating a list of needs and wants can help you establish your financial priorities.
  • Financial Goal Worksheet – Smart financial goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Rewarding, and Trackable. Use this worksheet to identify short-, mid-, and long-term SMART goals.
  • Goal Certificate – Create a “fridge friendly” personalized goal certificate to help you stay motivated.
  • Record of Daily Expenditures – Knowing where your money is going is critical for a successful budget. Track your daily expenses and then ask yourself if you’re spending your money wisely.
  • Expense Worksheet – Create and follow a spending plan. A realistic monthly spending plan is a valuable tool to guide your spending and saving decisions.
  • Tips for Change eBook – Download the eBook to read tips submitted by financially savvy consumers.

If you’ve found these tools helpful, have questions or would like to work through a tool with a trusted advisor, we encourage you to reach out to your local banker. Let’s work together to get you on the path to financial wellness.