Consumer Security Best Practices

Managing User IDs & Passwords

Although User IDs and Passwords are a convenient way of protecting system access, users often put their accounts in jeopardy by carelessness or improper use of User IDs and Passwords. It is important that you choose and use User IDs and Passwords carefully and to protect the confidentiality of these items at all times.

Tips to consider:

  • A strong User ID and Password is an important step in protecting your confidential information. A strong Password is one that is difficult for others to determine by guessing or by using automated programs.

  • Your User ID and Password should be different.

  • Your User ID and Password should be a combination of upper and lower letters, and numbers. The longer they are, the stronger they are.

  • If you access more than one bank online, consider using unique User IDs and Passwords for each institution. By using the same User ID and Password with every bank, if you become a victim of Internet fraud, all of your bank accounts could be affected. While it's more convenient to have just one standard User ID and Password, you put yourself more at risk.

  • When choosing a User ID, avoid using your first or last name or a combination of the two. By using your first or last name, it makes it easier for someone to guess at your User ID.

  • Make sure you don't use the word "password" for your Password.

  • Change your Password immediately if you think someone may know it. The same goes for your User ID.

  • Choose a hard to break password. Don't select a password that would be easy for someone to guess such as your birthday, anniversary date, phone number, etc.

  • Protect your User ID and Password. Don't write them down. If you need to write them down, make sure you keep them stored in a locked location without any other identifying information (E.G., bank name, User ID, etc.).

  • Never reveal your Password to anyone.

  • Don't use the portion of your e-mail address before the @ symbol as your User ID or Password.

  • Change your User ID and Password regularly and avoid repeating the previously used passwords. Even a strong password can be guessed. People who have enough time and computing power can eventually determine any password.

Combating Identity Theft

Your identity is worth protecting. If someone steals personal information about you, they can use it to not only steal money from you, but also to establish credit, borrow money, charge items, change your account information such as mailing address and, worst of all, commit crimes in your name.

Identity theft is the fastest growing white collar crime in the U.S. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that nearly nine million people have their identity stolen every year. While identity theft on the Internet is increasing, identities are also stolen by people taking your credit card or other financial information. Once stolen, re-establishing your identity is difficult. Keep yours secure.

Thieves can steal your identity by:

  • Dumpster diving - Retrieving from the trash, credit card receipts, credit card offers, bank deposit slips or personal information.

  • Skimming - Stealing credit/debit card numbers by using a special storage device when processing your card.

  • Phishing - Pretending to be banks or companies and asking for personal or account information.

  • Changing your address - Diverting your billing statements to another location by completing a change of address form.

  • Old-fashioned stealing - Picking your wallet or purse. Robbing your mail of bank and credit card statements, pre-approved credit offers, new checks or tax information. Stealing personnel information or bribing employees with access.

  • Pretexting - Using false pretenses to obtain your personal information from financial institutions.

  • Shoulder surfing - Obtaining credit card number information as they stand nearby and you conduct a financial transaction over the phone or at an ATM.

You may be the victim of identity theft if:

  • You are suddenly denied credit without a reason.

  • Your regular financial statements stop arriving on time.

  • You receive a bill or charge for a service or product you did not request or receive.

If someone steals your identity, you should immediately:

  • File a police report.

  • Contact your financial institution(s).

  • Notify everyone with whom you have any kind of financial relationship.

  • Close all accounts and have them marked they are closed at customer's request (such as credit cards, checking and savings accounts).

  • Notify the credit bureaus' fraud units. 

  • Use a password for telephone inquiries on credit card accounts.

  • Place a fraud alert statement on your credit report. Typically fraud alerts must be renewed by you every 90 days.

  • Report stolen checks to reporting companies.

  • Request bi-monthly copies of your credit report until all issues are resolved (free to fraud victims).

  • Check the post office for any unauthorized changes of your address.

  • Follow up all telephone contacts with letters and keep copies of all correspondence.

What to do if you suspect fraud

Notify Cross River if you believe another person has improperly obtained your Online Banking password. Also notify us if someone has transferred or may attempt to transfer money from your account without your permission, or if you suspect any fraudulent activity in your account. Telephoning us is the best way of keeping your possible losses down. Call us at 201-808-7000 or 1-87755-CRB55 at 885 Teaneck Rd., Teaneck, NJ 07666 or send us a secure e-mail through our Online Banking service.

Tips on how to protect your identity

  • Never provide credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers or other personal financial information to unsolicited requests over the phone or by e-mail, even when solicitors say you've won a lottery or want you to deposit money owed to you.

  • Shred any financial information before throwing it out. This includes credit card receipts, ATM receipts, and pre-approved credit card offers you don't intend to use.

  • Do periodic reviews of your credit report to make sure someone hasn't been stealing your identity. Make sure to review reports from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. These credit bureaus are required by law to each give you a free copy of your credit report each year if you ask for it. 

  • Order merchandise online only at secure sites and make online purchases with your credit card to limit your liability if you do not receive what you paid for.

  • Only carry necessary ID cards and limit the number of credit and debit cards. Don't carry your Social Security card with you unless you need it that day.

  • If discarding a computer, use a "Wipe Utility Program" to erase everything from the hard drive. Deleting files isn't enough.

  • Use only ATMs affiliated with banks or ATM networks you're familiar with. End or cancel transactions if someone is standing too close. Be aware of your surroundings - especially at night. Don't wait until you get to the ATM machine and take your card out of your wallet - have it ready in your hand. If you are receiving money from the ATM, don't count it until you get back to your car. If you are using a drive-up ATM, make sure all doors are locked and the passenger windows are rolled up.

  • If the ATM or card reader doesn't look right for any reason, do not use it. Criminals have successfully replaced ATM and even grocery checkout card readers with their own.

  • Don't use your deposit slips to write a note on and hand it to someone. Your deposit slips have personal information that you don't want to share with anyone.

  • Think of your checks as being like money - you need to make sure that no one can steal your checks - keep them safely locked away when you aren't using them.

  • Always write your checks in pen - never in pencil. When writing out the dollar amount on your check, draw a line to the far right, across the empty space so someone can't fill in any numbers in the empty space. When writing the name of the person you're giving the check to, make sure not to use abbreviations.

  • Monitor your regular mailbox - know your billing cycles and follow up with companies if you don't receive your statements on time. A criminal could have filed for a change of address in your name and diverted your mail to them. Missing mail can be a clue that your identity has been stolen.

Additional Resources

Cross River Bank and legitimate companies or financial institutions will NEVER make an unsolicited contact requesting your user name, password, or other account information. It is important that all internet banking users be aware of such types of fraud. 

You can report suspicious e-mails, text messages or any other suspicious activity or requests to your financial institution and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov), a partnership between the FBI and National White Collar Crime Center.

For more information, visit the following websites: Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Anti-Phishing Working Group, and the National Consumers League.