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7 Ways to Stay Safe Online

Cybercrime and IT security threats continue to be one of the fastest-growing forms of theft across the globe. According to the FBI's Internet Crime Compliant Center, U.S. consumers lost more than $4.2 billion from cybercrime in 2020. Information security is more important now, than ever. Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your information and money stays safe.

User typing password on computer, security code to access, secured login to bank onlin
1. Keep your computers and mobile devices up to date.

Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.

2. Set strong usernames and passwords and complete a security assessment.

Strong passwords contain at least eight characters in length and includes a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. NEVER use your first or last name, pets or children's names or sequential numbers or birthdates. Pick usernames that are hard to guess.

3. Be on the lookout for phishing scams.

Phishing scams use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from sources asking for log-in information or to confirm credentials. Check email addresses to ensure communications are coming from legitimate senders. If in doubt, don't click and beware of any messaging that asks you to act immediately. Forward phishing emails to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at - and to the company, bank, or organization impersonated in the email. (Reminder: WaFd Bank will never send you an unsolicited email asking you to provide your Social Security or account number or online banking credentials.)

4. Keep personal information personal.

Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out passwords and answer to security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother's maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know, especially those asking for personal information.

Secure your internet connection. Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending over it.

5. Shop safely.

Before shopping online, make sure the website uses secure payment technology that includes one or more trusted apps like PayPal, Square, Stripe and Apple or Google Pay. When you are on the checkout screen, verify that the web address begins with https. Also, check to see if a tiny, locked padlock symbol appears on the page. Always look for a conformation email receipt and never send money through Zelle or Venmo to someone you don't personally know or trust.

6. Read site's privacy policies.

Though long and complex, privacy policies tell you how the site protects the personal information it collects. If you don't see or understand a site's privacy policy, consider doing business elsewhere.

7. Don't use public Wi-Fi.

Using public Wi-Fi makes you an easy target for cyber criminals. Instead, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) that allows you access to your secure home network remotely.

Don't know if your credit or personal information has been compromised? Our Green Checking clients receive credit monitoring and identity theft resolution services as part of their account benefits. If you don't have Green Checking, be sure to check your credit score and history with the three bureaurs, and consider placing a freeze on your credit report with each one. Just remember that you have to remove the freeze when applying for credit:

If you think you've been a victim of cybercrime, contact your financial institutions. Place an alert on your accounts if you see suspicious login attempts and/or transactions.

Report information concerning all suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency or your local FBI field office (contact information can be found at

Report fraudulent activity to the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center at