Security Tips

1. Use strong passwords and safeguard them.

Always create strong passwords that contain:

1.       At least 8 characters, and a combination of;

2.       Lower Case Letters

3.       Upper Case Letters

4.       Numbers

5.       Symbols

When creating a password, do not use:

•         Your name or names of family members, close friends, or pets (first, middle or last)

•         Birth or anniversary dates

•         Social security numbers, pin numbers or account numbers

•         Current or previous addresses or phone numbers

•         Complete words (spelled backward or forward)

•         Any information that could be obtained from your social media site (e.g. Facebook)

•         Number, letter and keyboard sequences (e.g. abcdefg, 123456, asdf1234, rfvbnhyt, etc.)

Tips on managing your passwords:

1.       Change default or system issued passwords as soon as possible.

2.       Change passwords regularly.

3.       Memorize passwords.  If you absolutely have to, write them down and store them in a secure place.  It is recommended that using a secured (password protected/encrypted) document or password system (many available for free online) is the safest method for tracking passwords.

4.       Do not use “AutoFill”.  Certain websites will ask you if you want your ID and password automatically completed for you (e.g. The “Remember when I log in next time.” option).  Always uncheck this box.  This will prevent your sensitive information from being stored on the device being used.

5.       Always log out before closing the browser window.

6.       Keep a list or photocopies of all your credit cards, debit cards, bank accounts, and investments - the account numbers, expiration dates and telephone numbers of the customer service and fraud departments - in a secure and quickly accessible place (not your wallet or purse) so you can promptly contact these companies in case your credit cards have been stolen, lost or if your accounts are being used fraudulently.

2. Never give out information to unsolicited callers or e-mail senders.

TELEPHONE CALLS

How a telephone call is initiated is key in determining whether you should answer any questions about your identity.

When you initiate a call to a business:

•         You most likely have a trusted business relationship with the company.  For example, when you contact your credit card company, they may need to know your mother's maiden name in order to verify your identity prior to releasing any information to you.

•         Be sure to whisper the answers.

•         Do not allow the representative on the phone to speak your answers aloud on their side.

When you did not initiate a call, identity thieves have been known to call their victims:

•         With fake or sad stories that could include the promise of a prize/gift in the effort to trick you into giving up personal information.

•         Stating that they are calling from your bank or credit-card company, for example.  If they were truly calling from a financial business whom you do business with, there should be no reason for the caller to ask you about your SSN, or credit card number, etc. if that information should already be on file.  This is another red flag for not giving the calling any information.

In summary, if a caller is unwilling to send you written information by mail about their offer and business, it is safer to tell them you are not interested and hang up phone.  If they are willing to send you details by mail, review it carefully and do research to make sure it is going to a company or financial institution that is well-known and reputable.  The Better Business Bureau can give you information about businesses that have been the subject of complaints.

ELECTRONIC MAIL (E-MAIL)

"Phishing" has been a successful method of obtaining information for identity thieves.  Phishing is when a thief sends an email message that looks like it came from your bank asking you to visit a web site that looks like your bank's web site in order to confirm account information.  To prevent being a victim of this scam and potential viruses, always delete e-mail from unknown sources.  If you question anything being asked of you in an e-mail message, contact the business by phone and ask if the e-mail is legitimate.

3. Always use your own device.

The safest method for accessing your information online is to always use your own devices (e.g. your personally owned computer, tablet and/or smartphone to include Apple/Mac devices) from the same location (e.g. home) to access your accounts.  You are subject to identity theft if you use a public or non-owned device because you risk leaving sensitive information digitally on the device.  It is recommended that you take measures to protect your information on any device by ensuring that:

•         Virus and spyware/malware detection software is installed on your device to protect against known threats.

•         Operating systems and applications are installed to correct security issues that are discovered after an application is released.

•         Automatic updating of anti-virus/spyware/malware software, operating systems and applications is turned on to avoid having to remember to do it yourself for the best result.  Check versions periodically to ensure that automatic updates are working correctly on your device.

•         Your device is equipped with a firewall to create a protective wall between your device and the outside world that filters out unauthorized or potentially dangerous types of data from the internet, while still allowing other data to reach your device.  (Software firewalls run on your personal device and hardware firewalls protect a number of computers at the same time).

•         Scan your devices periodically to ensure that threat detection software is working correctly on your device.

4. Don’t use public internet access for online banking.

Even if you are using your own devices you need to be careful. A public network without a high level of encryption can be a security risk, even if you are checking your bank account on your own device. Before you engage in sensitive banking activities, make sure that you are on a secure network. If you are unsure, wait until later to accomplish these tasks.

Another concern is the security of the web site you are using. Look next to the address bar on your browser to see if there is a padlock icon. You can also look at the URL. Secure sites start with “https rather than “http. Double check for these indications that the site is secure before you enter your login information.

5. Turn on automatic updating for all your devices and software.

Many updates for operating systems and applications are to correct security issues that are discovered after the application is released.  It is import that critical updates are applied in a timely fashion to correct these discovered issues.

Anti-virus and spyware applications are continually adding signatures to their software.  Signatures are what the protective software searches for when scanning data to detect viruses and malware.  The more up to date these signature are the better protected you will be.

6. Use anti-virus and anti-spyware/malware software and turn on firewalls.

Make sure you have anti-virus software on your device. Anti-virus software is designed to protect you and your devices against known viruses, but with new viruses emerging daily, anti-virus programs need regular updates to recognize these new viruses. It is important to update your anti-virus software regularly - the more often you update it, the better - you should consider updating the software at least once a week. If you use your computer and receive a lot of emails, then updates should be made more frequently.

You should also consider using software to detect spyware. Spyware is malicious software (malware) that is downloaded onto your computer (often without your knowledge). It can be used by third parties and criminals to monitor your internet activities which could compromise the security of your personal information. As with anti-virus software, you should check your system regularly for spyware at least once a week.

7. Check your accounts and statements regularly.

Your ultimate security is your own vigilance. Even with all the security measures you can take to protect your financial information, it can still be compromised. You should monitor your bank account regularly, looking for evidence of fraudulent charges that could indicate identity theft or compromised financial accounts.

Do regular checks of your accounts – even those that you don’t use very much. You should always know what is happening with your accounts. Checking regularly can help you identify possible ID fraud, and work to limit the damage it can cause. The sooner you catch it, the better.

Keeping your financial information safe is vital if you want to protect your money. Take a few steps to increase your security, and your online banking will be less likely to result in financial information breaches.

8. Destroy printed documents and hard-drives that may contain sensitive information.

Shred/destroy documents, postal mail and PC hard-drives that may contain sensitive information prior to disposing of them in a recycle bin or the trash.  The old methods of stealing personal information are still very popular today.  “Dumpster diving” in trash bins for un-shredded credit cards, loan applications and documents containing SSNs that were not properly destroyed are still a prime target for thieves.

9. Use caution when using social networking sites.

Sites such as Facebook have become sources of critical information for hacking passwords and social engineering.  Limit public information on these sites and be aware what personal information is easily available.  Avoid using this information for logon information, passwords and secret questions.

10. Be aware of your surroundings when handling financial transactions in public areas.

Be aware of who and what is around you when you are performing financial transactions.  Individuals can be very skilled at observing key strokes and determining typed user IDs and passwords.  Also, many devices are now equipped with cameras that can record your key strokes without you being aware as well as commercially available recording devices that go completely unnoticed.

•         Try to find a more private area away from hearing or visual distance of other people to perform business transactions by phone or other device when in public.

•         Be sure to shield your hand to prevent “shoulder surfing” when entering PIN numbers into devices, public phones or when using a bank ATM machine.

•         Whisper security answers when conducting business in public setting.

11. Contact Guaranty Bank if you suspect you may be a victim of fraud.

Call 303-296-9600 immediately if you suspect fraudulent activity on your account.

12. How Guaranty Bank protects you.

Your protection is the highest priority for us. Our state-of-the-art tools and monitoring system ensure your identity is safe.

·         Verification:  when you change an address, for example, we request specific information about you to verify your identity before making any changes.

·         Account monitoring:  irregular account activity (check orders, address changes, heavy withdrawals) prompts a phone call for confirmation.

·         Fraud detection:  we have account-monitoring tools that recognize ID theft. We regularly receive information about known fraudulent addresses and phone numbers, and we compare them to new account requests and account changes.

·         Communication:  we contact you regarding any suspicious activity associated with your account.

·         Bill Pay:  a fast, easy and totally secure way to receive, pay and manage bills Online from the convenience of your PC. Learn more.

250 Steele Street, Suite 350 Denver, Colorado 80206  Phone: 303.370.0055
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