Milwaukee's PyraMax Bank Offers Safety Tips for Online Banking

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Fraud is the biggest fear when it comes to online banking. What can people do to stay safe while banking on a computer or mobile phone? PyraMax Bank in Milwaukee offers online safety tips to help make every bank transaction worry-free.

Never answer calls or emails from “banks” asking information about your account. Banks already have that information.

From bricks and mortar and drive-thrus to ATMs and PCs, over the last few decades, there’s been quite an evolution in banking to provide better service to its customers. Today, nearly 70 percent of American’s have access to a computer either at home or work, and now mobile banking is allowing banks to provide even more sophisticated banking options.

With every advance, come new concerns over online safety and protection against identity theft. It is a big concern for community banks like PyraMax Bank, in Milwaukee, where security issues are always top-of-mind for bank officers.

“Fraud is the number one fear among our clients,” says Karen Murphy, senior vice president of retail banking at PyraMax Bank. “We’ve spent a lot of time building security to protect our bank against hackers, but we also make special identity protection products available to all of our checking clients to safeguard them against fraud.”

Murphy adds that people are only as smart as the information they are given, so PyraMax recommends that every online or mobile banking customer use the following best practices when banking online.

  • Never answer calls or emails from “banks” asking information about an account. Banks already have that information. If there’s a problem with an account, a legitimate bank will ask the customer to come into the bank to discuss the problem.
  • When making purchases online, check for security icons like Secure, VeriSign or Verify by Visa before disclosing any financial information.
  • Keep anti-virus software up-to-date and purchase a good mal-ware and spy-ware program.
  • Make sure the computer’s firewall is on, if available.
  • Implement automatic computer updates.
  • Choose complex passwords using letters and numbers and change them regularly. PyraMax requires its customers to do so.
  • Only visit secure websites. If you are not sure if the site is safe, click on the padlock to see where the site is from. If it is Phishing, there will be nothing there to identify the site.
  • Keep a record of all online transactions.
  • Don’t click on pop-ups and be sure to enable or turn on Pop-up Blockers.
  • Never allow the computer to remember a password.
  • Do not make any online transactions at an Internet Café, library or other computer available to the general public.
  • Never download files from sites unknown or click on unfamiliar hyperlinks.
  • Use common sense. If something doesn’t pass the gut check, don’t do it.

Murphy recommends that individuals opening new checking accounts look for banks that offer identity theft protection. PyraMax offers a product called ID Guard to every checking client that is free for six months. After that, there is a minimal charge of $4.95 per month. The program keeps a record of every credit card and will send clients a notice from Credit Bureaus when someone looks at the client’s credit information. There’s also support available 24/7 if any ID is stolen, and insurance that will reimburse clients up to $1,000 when a claim is verified with a police report.

Anyone who has had their identity stolen knows it can take 14 to 18 months to restore their credit. It pays to know about online security particularly when banking online or by phone. The next evolution in banking may already be unfolding in products like the iPad and, although further out there, with continuing research in biometrics.

PyraMax Bank is a federally chartered Mutual Savings Bank. With $499,207,101 in assets and nine locations in southeastern Wisconsin, including Franklin, Greenfield, Milwaukee, Mukwonago, Muskego, South Milwaukee, Third Ward, Waukesha and West Allis, PyraMax offers the unequaled power of local decision making.


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Monica Baker
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