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Checklist to Protect Yourself & Your Information

Checklist to Protect Yourself & Your Information


Checklist to Protect Yourself & Your Information

With each passing month, our fraud department sees more fraud and scams that negatively impact members and their money. While we try to constantly remind members to watch their account statements and take ownership of personal cyber security, it’s not always easy to spot a scam before it happens.

We’ve put together a simple checklist of items to help protect yourself and your information all year long. To make these to-do’s easier and actionable we’ve broken them down and placed them throughout a year’s time so you can have a goal each quarter, rather than making it something stressful that you will procrastinate.


Quarter 1: January – March

  • Change your passwords – A best practice is to change them every six months.

Remember to use secure passwords – the stronger the better. Consider passphrases using numbers, both lower- and upper-case letters, and special characters. A good rule of thumb is to start with at least 14 characters.

NEVER reuse passwords across multiple sites. This makes it easy for a scammer to hack into all of your accounts once one account password is cracked.         

  • Change your security questions across multiple accounts. It’s a good idea to have different questions and answers so they’re not easily cracked.
  • Review your banking account statements post-holidays. It’s a good idea to check that all of your transactions were legitimate after the fury of card swiping during the holiday season. If you see anything suspicious, be sure to contact your financial institution.


Quarter 2: April – June

  • Do you have papers lying around that have personal or financial information on them? Take advantage of CSE’s shred day in order to dispose of these securely!
  • Check your credit report – it’s a good idea to check your credit report annually to make sure you haven’t fallen victim to identity theft and that everything is reporting properly.

You can get a free credit report yearly through

  • Set up multi-factor authentication to your accounts if it’s offered, or if you haven’t already.

Multi-factor authentication, also known as MFA or 2FA, offers extra security by requiring two or more credentials to log in. You may have to give both a password and a passcode or use an authentication app to log into your account. Using multi-factor authentication makes it harder for hackers to log in to your account, even if they do manage to crack your username and password.


Quarter 3: July – September

  • Keep your security software, internet browser, and operating system up to date. In many software updates, there are patches and updates to security on the device, so it’s best to push the update as soon as it’s available in order to protect against security threats.
  • Purchase legitimate antivirus software for your devices. If you already protect your devices with antivirus software, check on the renewal, make sure it’s up to date or consider setting up automatic or scheduled scans of your device. 


Quarter 4: October – December

  • Back up your data! Keep an extra copy (or backup) of all your files with a secure cloud service or save your files to an external hard drive.

It’s important to back up your data. That way, if anything happens to your computer such as malware or virus infection, you’re hacked, or your computer crashes, there’s not much that you’re losing.

  • Set up account alerts. The last quarter of the year is a great time to set up account alerts from your banking, debit, and or credit cards or any other alert you could set up. Going into the busy shopping season, you want to make sure you’re not getting hacked, or that your cards aren’t being used by a fraudster.


Always good things to remember when it comes to scams, and protecting yourself and your information:

  • NEVER click on suspicious, or unknown emails with links or attachments
  • NEVER share personal info in response to emails, texts or calls
  • Be careful using public WI-FI, especially for financial matters
  • When it comes to your banking, at CSE or any other financial institution.
  • NEVER share your CSE ebranch/mobile app login credentials with ANYONE (or any other financial institution login)
  • NEVER share or write down your PIN to your debit and/or credit cards
  • If someone asks you to pay with gift cards for any goods or service, or if a job or ‘free prize’ involves sending money back (an overpayment), it is likely a scam.
  • Report any scam you come across to the Federal Trade Commission, here:
  • Sometimes we do fall for scams, and if that happens, don’t be afraid to give us a call as soon as possible in order to minimize the negative effects.
  • Trust your gut – if something seems off, or doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.

Check out CSE’s Fraud Prevention & Identity Theft webpage to go over common scams, learn about red flags, or read about how to protect yourself from Identity Theft.


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