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Email Safety

Email Safety means following best practices when you send and receive email.

Email can transport malware (malicious software), like viruses, that can result in identity fraud or computer damage. In addition to the transmission of malware, phishing also threatens email users.

Phishing is a type of email fraud in which the perpetrator poses as a legitimate, trustworthy business in order to acquire personal and sensitive information, like passwords or financial data.

Following some simple guidelines can help you safeguard your email environment.

  • Never include sensitive information in email. Forged email purporting to be from your financial institution or favorite online store is a popular trick used by criminals to extract personal information for fraud.
  • Never open or respond to SPAM (unsolicited bulk email messages). Delete all SPAM without opening it. Responding to SPAM only confirms your email address to the spammer, which can actually intensify the problem.
  • Never click on links within an email. It is safer to retype the Web address than to click on it from within the body of the email.
  • Don’t open attachments from strangers. If you do not know the sender or are not expecting the attachment, delete it.
  • Don’t open attachments with odd filename extensions. Most computer files use filename extensions such as “.doc” for documents or “.jpg” for images. If a file has a double extension, like “heythere.doc.pif” it is highly likely that this is a dangerous file and should not be opened. In addition, do not open email attachments that have file endings of .exe, .pif, or .vbs. These are filename extensions for executable files and could cause damage to your computer if opened.
  • Never give out your email address to unknown Web sites. If you don’t know the reputation of a Web site, don’t assume trust. Many Web sites sell email addresses or may be careless with your personal information.
  • Don’t Believe the Hype. Many fraudulent emails contain urgent messages claiming your account will be closed if sensitive information is not provided immediately or that important security information needs to be updated online.
  • Be aware of bad grammar, spelling and design. Fraudulent emails and Web sites often include typos and grammar errors as well as unprofessional design layout and quality.

As a reminder, MSGCU employees will never call, email, or send you a text message asking for any of your personal information (i.e. online banking passwords, PIN numbers).

Online Identity Protection

Online Identity Protection means following best practices to help you browse the Internet safely and securely.

Online security includes following best practices while you’re banking online, shopping or just surfing the Internet. Following simple guidelines can help protect your identity and allow you to conduct business online with confidence.

  • Be selective about where you surf. Not all Web sites are benign. Sites that are engaged in illegal or questionable activities often host damaging software and make users susceptible to aggressive computer attacks.
  • Use a secure browser. Always use secure Web pages when you’re conducting transactions online (a Web page is secure if there is a locked padlock in the lower left-hand corner of your browser or if the web address starts with https).
  • Select a strong password. The best password is an undetectable one. Never use birth dates, first names, pet names, addresses, phone numbers, or Social Security numbers as your password. Instead, use a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Be sure to change your passwords regularly.
  • Don’t choose “Remember My Password.” You should never use the “remember password” feature for online banking or transactional Web sites.
  • Work on a computer you trust. Firewalls, Antivirus and Anti- Spyware software will help protect your computer and your personal information.
  • Don’t use public computers for sensitive transactions. Since you cannot validate the computer’s integrity, there’s a higher risk of fraud when you log in from a public computer.
  • Log off, disconnect, shut down. Always sign off from online banking or any other Web site that you’ve logged into with a user ID and password. Utilize automatic timeout features that prevent others from continuing your online banking session in case you leave your computer unattended without logging out. When a computer is not in use, disconnect it from the Internet or shut it down.

As a reminder, MSGCU employees will never call, email, or send you a text message asking for any of your personal information (i.e. online banking passwords, PIN numbers).

Offline Identity Protection

Offline Identity Protection means following best practices to help you secure your personal information in the “real world.”

Offline security is critical to helping you protect your identity. While online security is an important and current issue, identity fraud continues to take place offline as well. Following simple guidelines for offline activities can help you protect your privacy and your identity.

  • Lock your mailbox. Preferably, your personal mailbox should lock. Don’t leave mail in your mailbox longer than necessary – especially if your mailbox does not lock.
  • Hold your mail. If you’re traveling, don’t let mail pile up. Have the post office hold your mail at times when you won’t be able to collect it.
  • Monitor mail closely. Take immediate action if bills do not arrive as expected or if you receive unexpected credit cards or a mysterious account statement.
  • Don’t give out your phone number. Ask solicitors or other businesses for their phone number so you have control over these communications.
  • Don’t give out personal information in surveys. Surveys, both online and offline, can be dangerous if they ask you to provide confidential information.
  • Safeguard your Social Security Number. Do not publish your Social Security Number on checks and other public documents. Do not carry your card with you; keep your Social Security card in a safe place at home.
  • Copies aren’t necessary. Know your rights regarding copies of your driver’s license. Business transactions, like checking into a hotel, do not require a copy of your driver’s license.
  • Take advantage of free annual credit reports. Credit reports contain information about your accounts and your bill paying history. Major nationwide consumer reporting companies are legally required to provide free copies of your credit reports. Review your credit report each year for accuracy. You can obtain your annual credit report online at
  • Shred, Shred, Shred. Shred bills, bank statements, pre-approved financial solicitations and other confidential information before discarding them.

As a reminder, MSGCU employees will never call, email, or send you a text message asking for any of your personal information (i.e. online banking passwords, PIN numbers).