Security Awareness

  • First South will NOT initiate contact with customers via phone call, text, or email that require our customers to supply personal information for verification purposes. If you are contacted by someone who states they are calling from the First South, or you receive an email you should not give them any account information. You should contact your local branch in the event you notice suspicious account activity or experience customer information security-related events.
  • Below is a list of control mechanisms you may consider implementing to mitigate your own risk.

Passwords

  • It is VERY important to choose a strong password. A well-chosen password has two important characteristics; it should be easy to remember and hard to guess.
  • Use a different password for sites that contain financial information from sites that you browse casually or that don't ask for personal information.
  • Do not use people's names, special dates or personal information as passwords. Avoid any combination of characters that friends or acquaintances can easily guess.
  • Use syllables or acronyms. Avoid using complete words that appear in any dictionary regardless of the language. One option is to start with the first letters of a familiar phrase. For example, "Mary had a little lamb" becomes Mhall, which could be part of a secure password.
  • Mix it up! Use a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and punctuation/special characters, such as &^$#.
  • Keep it to yourself. Do not share your personal password with others. You never know what the future will bring in relationships or coworkers, so do not give your password out – to anyone.
  • Keep your passwords safe. There are programs available where you can securely store your passwords. Don't write them down in a place where others can find them.
  • Do not use the auto-save feature on your browser.
  • Change your passwords often.

Common Passwords to Avoid:

  • Customer name, family member, or pet's name
  • Social Security, Account, or Phone numbers
  • Any part of your physical address
  • Anybody's birth date
  • Other information that is easily obtained about the user
  • Any username on the computer in any form
  • A word in the English or foreign dictionary
  • A password used on another site
  • Any of the above spelled backwards
  • Out of Wallet or Public Records (e.g. Mother's maiden name)
  • Sequences: "12345678", "222222", "abcdefg"

Computers

  • Install and activate a firewall. A firewall is a software program or piece of hardware that blocks communications to and from sources you don't permit. Some operating systems have built-in firewalls. Make sure your firewall is on and that it is updated regularly.
  • Always sign out or log off.
  • Update software frequently and keep systems current.
  • Install and run the most recent version of anti-virus software.
  • Keep your operating system (OS) current.
  • Activate the automatic update feature.
  • Set your browser's security level to the default setting or higher.
  • If you use a wireless network in your home, take precautions to secure it against hackers. Choose a wireless router with an encryption feature and turn it on. Consider turning off your wireless network when you're not using it.

Identity Theft

  • Shred receipts, statements, expired cards, and similar documents.
  • Review statements promptly and carefully. Report any suspicious activity immediately.
  • Be positive of the identity of anyone before you divulge personal information, and only if you initiate the contact.
  • Check your credit report at least annually.

Websites

  • When making online purchases, use a credit card.
  • Never click on suspicious links.
  • Only give sensitive information to websites using encryption. You can verify this by the URL https://... (the "s" is for secure).
  • Use social media wisely. Don't reveal too much personal information.

Mobile Devices

  • Avoid storing sensitive information.
  • Use passcodes and lock your device when not in use.
  • Keep software up-to-date.
  • Install remote wipe so it can be cleared if the device is lost or stolen.

General Best Practices

  • Keep your personal information private and secure.
  • Check your account balance regularly.
  • Do not access your account from a public location.
  • If you suspect suspicious activity, report it immediately.
  • Be skeptical of email messages from someone who is unlikely to send an email.
  • Do not open suspicious emails and do not click on the links. If you do, perform diagnostics on your computer immediately.
  • Don't provide personal or payment information when requested through email.
  • Avoid get rich quick schemes.