General tips to help safeguard your personal information and secure your personal computer or laptop.

Secure your computer

1. Install anti-spyware and anti-virus protection and make sure the signatures are updated regularly.

2. Using a firewall prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to a computer, or monitors transfers of information to and from the computer while connected to the Internet. Make sure it is turned on!

3. Operating system and software updates, sometimes called “patches” or “service packs,” should be installed very soon after they are released. Follow good proactive procedures by backing up your computer before installing any patches.

4. Web browser updates are deployed with your security in mind so keep them current.

5. Turn off your computer or disconnect from wired/wireless network when it is not in use.

6. Use caution when opening attachments or downloading files from emails you receive.

7. If you are unsure whether or not your computer is at risk for viruses/worms please visit Symantec’s threat research center for more information.

Secure your home network

1. Change the default password on any networking equipment (routers, switches, wireless access points, etc.).

2. Use the built-in security features offered in many routers/switches/access points to help "harden" your home network.

3. Turn on encryption for wireless networks. Use the highest encryption available if possible.

4. Change the default System ID (SSID) on your wireless access point.

5. Turn off all wireless networks when leaving your house for an extended period of time.

6. Place the wireless access point away from windows and near the center of your house to decrease the signal strength to prevent outsiders from accessing your wireless service.

Internet browsing tips

1. Always use caution when browsing the Internet, especially unfamiliar sites.

2. Avoid clicking on advertisements. Even on legitimate sites, the advertisements are coming from other servers and could contain links to compromised sites. If you like the product in the advertisement, go to that company’s main website instead of clicking the link.

3. Most emails are written with code designed for websites and they can contain links. Be cautious with emails from unknown senders and do not click on any links or pictures in those emails. See our Phishing Scams section for more information and an example of a phishing email.

4. Always use your browser’s pop-up blocker.

5. If a window pops up unexpectedly saying you’ve won something, you have a virus, or you must enter your password to continue, it is most likely malicious and should be handled as such. Do not click anywhere on the window, instead hit the CTRL, ALT, and DELETE keys at the same time, select Task Manager, and choose End Task on the browser window (Windows Users).

6. Be aware of online offers to back up your computer over the Internet or of free computer security scans, these can be malicious and provide intruders an avenue to your personal data.

7. Disable the feature in your browser that keeps and stores all passwords.

8. Always log out of websites by clicking “log out” on the site. It’s not enough to simply close the browser window or type in another address because your session may remain active.

Social networking

1. Remember that the Internet is a public resource. Avoid putting anything online that you don’t want the public to see or that you may want to retract.

2. Piedmont Federal is now on Facebook! The purpose of our Facebook page is to encourage community involvement, provide financial education, and to learn more about you and how we can help. We know you’re eager to join the conversation, but before doing so, please take note of Facebook’s privacy and security policies, as well as some of our own. If you can’t agree to all policies, please reconsider your decision to interact on the Piedmont Federal Bank Facebook page.

3. Adjust Facebook privacy settings to help protect your identity. Unlike some other social networking sites, Facebook has provided some powerful options to protect you online – but it’s up to you to use them!

4. Check sites privacy policies. Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam. Also, try to locate the policy for handling referrals to make sure that you do not unintentionally sign your friends up for spam. Some sites will continue to send email messages to anyone you’ve referred until they join.

5. Children are especially susceptible to the threats that social networking sites present. Although many of these sites have age restrictions, children may misrepresent their ages in order to join. By teaching children about Internet safety and to be aware of their online habits as well as guiding them to appropriate sites, parents can make sure that children become safe and responsible users. See our Children’s Security section for more information.

Mobile Banking

The following are a few simple tips to help protect your information as you track your finances on-the-go:


  • Always secure your phone and SIM card (subscriber identity module) with a password. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, it will protect your private and secure information.
  • Only download applications from trusted sources. Make sure to download updates regularly, as often times these include fixes to security flaws.
  • Read an application’s privacy policy to be aware of what they are doing with your private information.
  • Take note of pop-up notices and other alerts that may be warning you about security issues or leaving trusted sites.
  • Delete text messages from your bank once you’ve read them.
  • Always log off completely after using a mobile banking site or application. Make sure to clear out all information on your phone before discarding it.


  • Send your personal information or online banking credentials via email or text, as both are easy to intercept.
  • Enter personal information unless there’s an “s” after http, which indicates that the site is secure. Also, look for security symbols such as an icon of a lock.
  • Bank or shop online while on a smartphone when using unsecured, public Wi-Fi access.
  • Set your phone settings to auto-fill User ID’s or Password information.
  • Click on any links in emails that claim to be from your bank. Instead go to your bank’s website directly to log in.
Straightforward, commonsense banking

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