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(ARA) – You have a deadbolt on your front door, you always lock your car and at night, you pull down the blinds before you go to bed.

You want to protect yourself, your family, your property and your privacy. Now, more than ever, that means using the right security for your computers and mobile devices.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and it’s a great time to update your online safety practices and take steps to better protect your identity.

“Whether on computers or mobile devices, consumers go online for shopping, banking and social networking so often that they really need to take precautions to protect their information from identity theft and other cybercrime,” says Todd Inskeep, authentication customer protection and social spaces executive at Bank of America. “And protecting yourself and your family is as easy as following some simple but powerful security routines.”

Bank of America recommends these simple cybersecurity tips to help you protect your personal information and your finances online:

* Consider a screen lock on your mobile device. Many mobile phones offer this option, as well as other customizable security settings, which can help keep your phone and information secure.

* Be cautious about messages you receive by e-mail or on social networking sites that contain links. Even links that look like they come from friends or legitimate businesses can sometimes be harmful or fraudulent, attempting to gain control of your computer or steal your personal information. For example, never respond to an urgent e-mail claiming to be from a bank or any company that requests your account information or personal details. Contact the sender or the business directly to verify the validity of any message.

* Use a “strong” password – one that combines eight or more letters, numerals and symbols – for your online financial accounts, and use a different password for your financial sites than for your other sites.

* Limit the amount of personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it might be for a criminal to use that information to steal your identity, access your data or commit other crimes.

* Online offers that sound too good to be true often are. You might see a job offer asking you to transfer money through your , or receive a short online survey promising to credit money to your account. These are scams that might not only compromise your account details, but affect your financial reputation.

* Do not use your mobile device to store sensitive personal information or bank account numbers. To protect the security of its customers, Bank of America Mobile Banking and Text Banking features allow you to access your accounts and related details without exposing your account numbers.

Even if your identity were compromised online, Bank of America offers its consumer customers the Total Security Protection package, with security enhancements like the $0 Liability Guarantee on debit and credit cards. That means less hassle for customers since fraudulent charges made by others that are promptly reported are credited back to the account as soon as the next day.

The bank also has fraud monitoring on credit and debit cards, to check how and where customers’ cards are being used and blocks potential fraud if unusual patterns are detected.

“It’s important to take these steps to protect yourself, your family, your assets and your privacy,” Inskeep says. “Adding extra security to your mobile devices, signing up with companies that offer extra protection and being extra wary of incoming messages are excellent ways to protect your family from financial loss and identity theft.”

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Author: Andy Quayle

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