Secure Online Banking

At First Carolina Bank, your data's security is our top priority. Follow the tips below to ensure that your information remains safe and secure. 

Virtually every financial institution is using the Internet to communicate and allow customers to conduct transactions online. Customers today expect this convenience, and if done securely, these transactions can be as safe as those conducted in person.

Start With the Basics

Ask yourself the following four questions below. If your answer to all four is a yes, your chances of being impacted by a cyber incident are low. If any of your answers are no, then your chances of being impacted by a cyber incident are higher. Understand these risks and take the recommended actions.

1. Is My Computer as Secure as Possible?

Using an unsecured computer is like leaving the door of your house wide open: you are making it easy for someone with malicious intent to access your property. An unprotected machine can become infected with malware in a matter of moments, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft or other crimes.

Having up-to-date security software protection isn’t an option; it’s a requirement and should become as automatic as locking your doors when you leave your house. Be sure your computer is current with all operating system and application software updates. Anti-virus and anti-spyware software should be installed, running, and receiving automatic updates.

In addition to taking precautions when using your own computer, practice vigilance when using someone else’s. Don’t use public computers or public networks for financial or other sensitive transactions. You have no control over the security of a public computer or public wireless network.

2. Is My Connection to the Internet as Secure as Possible?

Simply connecting to the Internet makes you vulnerable to a potential attack. Using a firewall helps minimize risks by blocking malicious traffic to your computer. Make sure you have a firewall that it is turned on and kept updated. New computers may be shipped with it on by default, but double-check.

When entering sensitive information into a website, look for the “https://” and check that the lock icon is present in the URL bar. This indicates that your communications are encrypted. Also, pay attention to the browser you use to connect to the Internet. Keep it updated, patched, and set to automatically update. If you are using a wireless network to connect to the Internet, make sure encryption is enabled and change the default network name and password that come with the wireless router.

3. Is My Password as Secure as Possible?

Strong passwords don’t have to be hard to remember, just hard to guess. A good password is at least ten characters and uses a mix of upper case, lower case, and numeric or special characters. Each of your online accounts, especially financial ones, should have its own strong password so that if one is compromised, the attacker does not have automatic access to your other accounts.

4. Do I Know How to Recognize a Scam?

Keeping your computer secure is only part of the equation when conducting online banking. You need to be alert for scams and the things you can do to protect yourself.

Phishing is one of the most common scams attackers use. A phishing scam typically consists of an email, trying to entice the recipient into clicking a link or downloading an attachment. A phishing scam targeting your financial accounts will consist of an email message notifying you of a “problem” with your account and ask you to click on a link to your “bank’s” site and submit sensitive information. This site, however, is a very convincing fake version of the legitimate site. This website may then prompt you to provide personal information such as Social Security, bank account, or credit card numbers. It may also download malicious software onto your computer.

Instead of clicking on the link to your bank’s website embedded in an email, navigate to the financial institution’s website on your own by typing the address directly into your browser. Beware of attached files, as they may contain malware. Open attachments only from trusted sources, and if you are in doubt, don’t open it at all. You may also consider using anti-phishing software to help block many phishing-related emails. 

Remember, no legitimate financial institution will ever ask you to provide sensitive information in an email. First Carolina Bank will NEVER contact you by such means requesting such information.

Fraud Types and Prevention Strategies

Below are common types of fraud and recommendations for how customers—both consumer and business—can best protect themselves.

ACH & Wire Fraud

ACH and wire fraud can occur when fraudsters infiltrate business communications to strategically hack into online banking and disburse the funds themselves or when they send seemingly legitimate instructions to those with the permissions and authority to process payments. These threats can be mitigated by implementing dual control practices, limiting the number of people with transaction access, and completing due diligence on payment or information change requests. Additionally, for ACH fraud specifically, products such as positive pay or fraud filter can assist in monitoring your transactions for fraudulent activity.

Online Banking Fraud

In addition to the above tips on strong passwords, at First Carolina, we also require customers to utilize two-factor authentication to log in to their online banking. This means that you will need to enter some kind of secondary code in order to gain access, and we will never ask you to share that code. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from First Carolina seeking that code, or if your phone notifies you with a code when you did not try to log in, change your password immediately.

Debit Card Fraud

Physical precautions for debit cards involve treating the cards like cash and not making your PIN accessible to anyone—this includes being aware of your surroundings when you enter your PIN at an ATM or a store. More common current fraud tactics with debit cards, though, involve phone calls. Do not give your information about your account or debit card number or PIN over the phone; we will never ask for it.

If you notice suspicious activity or suspect fraud of any kind on your account, contact your local branch immediately. Phone numbers for each of our locations can be found here