Business brief: Protect your identity, data

Centinel Bank and ICBA are reminding consumers to protect their personal data online.

"Educating customers about account security and cyber threats is something we all must be conscious about if we want to reduce the risk of sensitive information being exploited for criminal use," said Isaiah Ortega, Chief Information Officer and vice president at Taos-based Centinel Bank.

There are steps consumers can take to reduce their chances of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud. ICBA encourages consumers to:

• Enable the strongest authentication tools offered by their bank. Popular authentication methods include multi-factor authentication, biometrics, security keys and single-use codes.

• Use complex passwords and use different ones for each site.

• Do a system check. Purge unused apps and sensitive information stored in old files and emails. Ensure all software on internet-connected devices has current security protection software.

• Check bank statements regularly to ensure the purchases are legitimate.

• Read the fine print when purchasing items online. Often a website or application will ask for permission to save account information.

• Be mindful when shopping online and look for signs of illegitimate websites. Spelling or grammatical errors, missing contact information, and suspicious URLs or email addresses are all red flags.

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