By Jamey Kabisch

I am asked quite often about the safety and security of banking online. Many people in Big Sky have eagerly adopted electronic banking features, but some are still concerned about online safety of their identity. What are the facts? According to identitytheft.com, an estimated 70 percent of all bank-related fraud stems from papers with account numbers and other personal information on them falling into the wrong hands. What can you do to keep your information safe?

To evaluate your options, consider the lifecycle of paper versus electronic information. Most Big Sky residents have a mailbox key and thus, controlled access. What if you misplace your statement and someone gets his hands on it? It’s easy to forget to shred papers, and dumpster diving is an easy way for thieves to gather information.

Emailed statements offer multiple layers of security. How it works: bank customers receive emailed notification that their bank statement is available through the bank’s website. This notification is generic – no personal information is included. Customers can then log into the secure online banking system with a previously established user name and password. Printing information is often unnecessary. Once logged in, current and previous statements are available.

The key to maintaining eStatement security is keeping the spyware, Trojan, and anti-virus software on your home computer up to date. Reputable security software makes it very difficult for your computer to be compromised. Additional steps are to: download personal information only as required; password protect your computer; password protect key files; create difficult passwords using numbers and symbols; and shred any printed papers.

What if you are traveling? Most banks authenticate the computer their customers use. Log into your account from a computer you don’t regularly use, and you’ll be required to enter information proving your identity before accessing your account.

Jamey Kabisch is Branch President at First Security Bank in Big Sky. If you’d like to know more about online banking, the friendly staff at First Security is available to answer your questions. (406) 993-3350