Security tips

Protecting the security of your personal information is a high priority at Bank of the West. While there are numerous security measures we use to identify suspicious activity and to keep your information safe, there are steps you should also take to protect yourself.

Bank of the West recommends the following security tips to help you protect yourself from unauthorized access to your accounts and personal information.

Contact us to report:

Fraud or suspicious activity
1-800-488-2265
TTY 1-800-659-5495

Lost or stolen credit cards
1-800-996-2638

Suspicious Bank of the West emails
abuse@bankofthewest.com

Tips to help protect yourself from identity theft:

  1. Review your bank and credit card statements carefully and report any unauthorized charges immediately. Monitor your account online at least once a week or more frequently, and review your account details and transaction history for suspicious activity.
  2. Before using an ATM, be aware of people and your surroundings. If you observe suspicious persons or circumstances, do not use the ATM at that time. Guard your Personal Identification Number (PIN). Shield the ATM keypad with your hand or body while entering your PIN. After completing a withdrawal, secure your card and cash immediately before exiting the ATM area. Count your cash later in the safety of your locked car or home.
  3. Report lost or stolen checks or credit cards immediately.
  4. Keep your operating systems, web browsers, and other applications on all personal devices (computer, laptop, tablet, smart phone, etc.) updated with the latest security patches: Most internet service providers offer an automatic update feature to help you stay up to date; ensure this feature is turned on.
  5. Protect your personal and online account information:
    • Never share your user names or passwords with anyone.
    • Avoid login features that save usernames and passwords.
    • Avoid passwords or PINs that are easy to discover like your mother's maiden name or your birthdate. Regularly change your passwords.
    • Never leave your device unattended while handling bank-related business.
    • Never access banking information or financial services at public internet locations.
    • Clear browsing history and cookies stored on your hard drive.
    • Beware of scams, no matter how urgent someone claims a deal, job offer or plea for assistance, you should research and confirm its legitimacy before responding.
    • If your computer is infected with a virus, use a separate secure device to change passwords on all your financial, personal and email accounts.
  6. Install antivirus and/or other protection software on all personal devices:
    • Purchase or subscribe to an antivirus service to help keep your computer virus free. Make sure your software is updated regularly and always running to stay protected. Beware of scams involving pop-ups or phone calls from software companies claiming to provide security support by downloading software. These are attempts to download spyware onto personal devices; confirm legitimacy before responding.
  7. Reconcile your bank account frequently and immediately report any unauthorized activity:
    • Review your account details and transaction history at least once a week (or more) in an effort to promptly identify unauthorized or suspicious activity. Notify your financial institution immediately if you identify any unauthorized or suspicious activity.
  8. Be wary of "phishing" emails that appear to be from a valid company or financial institution requesting confidential information. Legitimate companies like Bank of the West will never send unsolicited emails asking for confidential information. Do not reply to these emails or click on links embedded within them.

Do not respond to unsolicited requests for personal information. Contact your financial institution at a trusted number to verify requests.

Be on Guard:

  • Just browsing to a malicious website could infect your device with malicious software; make sure the website is secure. Look for "secure transaction" symbols such as the lock symbol (see the lower right-hand corner of your web browser window or on the toolbar), or "https://…" in the address bar of the website. The "s" indicates "secured" and means the web page uses encryption.
  • Don't open attachments, click on links, or respond to emails from suspicious or unknown senders.
  • Criminals may send you attachments or links that will lead you to spoofed sites or cause you to inadvertently download malicious software to your computer. Do not respond to any communication asking for confirmation of personal information. Personal information includes but is not limited to name, address, phone number, email address, Social Security Number, and/or financial information such as account numbers, etc.
  • Do not respond to unexpected text messages or automated voice messages.
  • Look for spelling and grammatical errors as these are often an indication of fraudulent emails or websites.
  • Report any suspicious email purporting to be from Bank of the West by forwarding it to: abuse@bankofthewest.com.
  • Do not include account or sensitive information in emails. If you use Online Banking, send a secure message through the Message Center function of your Online Banking service.

 

  1. Use Online Banking tools and services:
    • Utilize the services Online Banking offers, such as email alert notifications. Being alerted to changes in profile and activity can help you quickly identify unauthorized access to your accounts. Visit bankofthewest.com for a full list of services and tools.
  2. Review your credit report at least twice a year:
    • Check for unauthorized changes and new accounts in your name. Consumers can obtain free copies of their credit reports once each year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Be sure to review the credit report of your minor children. See the Federal Trade Commission's website http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/freereports/index.shtml for more information.
  3. Don't overshare personal information online

    Information that you share on social networking websites, such as photos, location "check-ins," and other personal details about your life, may be sought by fraudsters in their attempts to commit financial fraud or identity theft. In addition, anything posted online may remain out there permanently, which is why it is important to be cautious of what you post. Consider the below tips when sharing your personal information online.

    • Do not settle for the default settings. Limit information sharing to a small group, or only those closest to you.
    • Validate your friends. Be wary of people that you meet online that you have not met in person, including job offers and financial transactions.
    • Think before you post. Recent news of data breaches teaches us that anything that we post online, even items meant to be private, may become public. Before you say or upload something, think about the impact if it became public. What information is contained in the picture? What does the post say about you?
    • Guard your location. Do not tell criminals when you are not at home. Your location information could be used for cyber stalking or to take your valuables when you are not at home. Keep in mind, status updates and photos taken with smartphones may contain embedded GPS coordinates that allow fraudsters to know where you are or have been. If you want to post photos of your vacation, consider waiting until you are back at home.
    • Do not overshare. Social media sites may ask for your personal information (address, phone number, SSN, date of birth, etc.) which can be used by identity thieves to gain access to your bank account.
    • Parent-strong. Teach your children the risks associated with the internet and potential risks of sharing personal details online.
  4. Shred all documents containing personal information.

How to Report Fraud

  1. If your account has experienced suspicious activity or fraud, contact Bank of the West immediately. You’ll need to get new account numbers and select a new PIN.
    • Fraudulent activity on Bank of the West account(s) or lost/stolen: checks and debit ATM cards 1-800-488-2265. TTY 1-800-659-5495. Lost/stolen credit cards or suspicious credit card transactions 1-800-996-2638
    • Fraudulent Bank of the West emails (Phishing) and websites (spoofed sites) annualcreditreport.com
    • Important numbers to report Identity Theft and or obtain a copy of your credit report:

      Theft hotline: 1-877- IDTHEFT or www.ftc.gov
      Equifax: 1-888-766-0008 or www.equifax.com
      Experian: 1-888- 397-3742 or www.experian.com
      TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 or www.transunion.com

    • View Don't be an online victim from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
    • Federal Trade Commission

Contact us to report:

Fraud or suspicious activity

1-800-488-2265
TTY 1-800-659-5495

Lost or stolen credit cards

1-800-996-3648

Suspicious Bank of the West emails

abuse@bankofthewest.com