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(from FS-ISACS)
Summer is around the corner and for many of us that means it’s time to get away!  It’s not surprising that many cyber criminals target travelers.  Luckily, with a little care it’s possible to protect yourself and avoid potential problems.

Avoid publicly posting details of where and when you’ll be traveling.  When you reveal these specifics, you are providing information that could be used by criminals to target your home or your family while you’re gone.

Sending private posts and photos during your vacation to family and friends is okay, but if you post them publicly, you increase the risk of someone using that information for malicious activities.

Just as important as using discretion when posting, is making sure your children and friends understand the risks associated with positing your vacation plans.

Do not use public computers and open wireless networks for sensitive online transactions.  Wi-Fi spots in airports, hotels, coffee shops, and other public places can be convenient but they’re often not secure and can leave you at risk.  If you’re accessing the Internet through an unsecured network, you should be aware that malicious individuals might be able to eavesdrop on your connection.  This could allow them to steal your login credentials, financial information, or other sensitive information.  Any public Wi-Fi should be considered “unsecure”

Keep in mind that if you are traveling abroad, different countries have different laws, which may allow government employees or law enforcement full access to your device without your knowledge or permission.  It’s also important to know the local laws regarding online behavior, as some online behaviors, such as posting disparaging comments or pictures of illegal activity on social media websites can be illegal.

Consider turning off features on computer or mobile devices that allow you to automatically connect to Wi-Fi and other services such as social media websites.  Also consider using a cellular 3G/4G connections as a hotspot, which is generally safer than an open Wi-Fi connection.  If you do not connect through your hotel’s Wi-Fi, verify the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot with hotel staff.


  • Use discretion when posting information online.  Consider keeping your social media pages private, so only authorized individuals can visit.
  • Password protect your devices so if they are lost or stolen the information is protected and enable device tracking.
  • Make sure your laptop and other mobile devices have the latest patches installed.  Your software vendor should notify you whenever an update is available.  Set your device to auto update.
  • Use of security software programs is a must.  Some programs can locate a missing or stolen phone, tablet, or similar device, while others will back up you data and can even remotely wipe all data from the phone if it is reported stolen.  Definitely make sure you have anti-virus software installed, updated, and running.
  • Do not access sensitive accounts (such as banks) or conduct sensitive transactions over public networks, including hotel and airport Wi-Fi and business centers or Internet cafes.  Use wired connections instead of Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connections whenever possible.
  • Do not plug USB cables into pubic charging stations; only connect USB power devices using the intended AC power adapter as USB cables can be used to siphon data from the device.

  SAVING FOR A RAINY DAY                 

It is important to set aside money, not only for emergencies, but also for major expenses like education, homes, and cars. Most financial advisors recommend at least the following: Have at least enough in savings to cover three to six months of rent and expenses.

  • BEGIN SMALL, TAKE THE FIRST STEP.  Just 1% of your income into a savings account each month helps you to take the first step.  Increase percentage as your comfort level grows. 
  • MAKE IT AUTOMATIC.  By automating deposits, and transfers into savings you can eliminate the temptation to redirect your extra money to other things.
  • FUTURE SELF.  Think of savings as a mandatory payment to your future self.
  • PLAN FOR EMERGENCIES.  Having savings can take some of the financial sting out of dealing with unexpected events.


Ways to Protect Your ID

Under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Privacy Laws we are required to ensure the confidentiality of a consumer’s information. Here are ways a consumer can protect their ID’s from theft:

  • Monitor credit annually
  • Use a P.O. Box
  • Opt-out of junk mail / internal marketing lists / offers of credit
    • OR
  • Enroll in the “DO NOT CALL” registry with FTC (Federal Trade Commission); it’s FREE!
    • Register online:
    • 888)382-1222 / TTY (866)290-4236

TO DO LIST when your computer is hacked or phished:

  1. Change all passwords
  2. Run anti-spyware/malware and anti-virus programs
  3. Clear out private information in your internet browsers; clear out sensitive data from internet Temp Folder (clearing cache, delete history)
  4. Close online accounts, notify banks/institutions to obtain new accounts (if needed)

ID Theft Victim TO DO LIST

Take back your life in 7 Steps:
Contact the 3 credit bureaus; ask that they issue a fraud alert and attach a statement to your credit report, get copies from the 3 bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion - see below)

Review your credit reports thoroughly; look for accounts you did not apply for or open, inquiries you did not initiate, or defaults and delinquencies you did not cause

File a report with your Local Police or in the community where the ID theft took place; keep a copy of the Police report

Fill out an ID theft victim’s complaint and affidavit form; available from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at or (877)FTC-HELP {382-4357}

Close any accounts that have been accessed fraudulently; contact all creditors – including banks / credit card companies / other service providers where your accounts have been compromised

Stop payment on checks; if a thief stole checks or opened bank accounts in your name, contact a major check verification company to report the fraud activity

Contact the loan Postal Inspector; if you believe someone has changed your address through the post office or has committed mail fraud – ask the Postmaster to forward all mail in your name to your own address

Credit Reporting Agencies

To contact a Consumer Reporting Agency (CRA)
Credit Information Services – Consumer Fraud Div. P.O. Box 105496 Atlanta, GA 30348-5496 Ph: (800)997-2493
P.O. Box 2104 Allen, TX 75013-2104 Ph: (888)EXPERIAN {397-3742}
Fraud Victim Assistance Dept. P.O. Box 390 Springfield, PA 19064-0390 Ph: (800)680-7289
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Home State Bank, 202 3rd Ave, PO Box 79, Royal, IA 51357 | 712-933-5511 | 877-474-5511 | FAX: 712-933-2397
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