How to Protect Yourself

Best Practices to Protect Your Computer System

We recommend the following:
  • Verify that security patches, anti-virus, and anti-spyware software are kept up-to-date.
  • Ensure that you have a firewall that is properly configured.
  • Never open a suspicious email.
  • Be especially wary of opening files that end in .exe.
  • Safeguard your password.
  • Encrypt the hard drive of your laptop to protect contents in case it is lost or stolen.
  • If you are using a wireless connection:
    1. Change the default network name (SSID) and password.
    2. Avoid connecting to a public Wi-Fi location 

Email Safety Test

Before you open an email, ask yourself:
  • Do you know the sender?
  • Have you safely received emails from this sender before?
  • Were you expecting an email with an attachment from this sender?
  • Does it make logical sense that the sender would send you the email, especially one with an attachment or link?
  • Could it contain a virus? The only way you will know is if you have an anti-virus program installed.

Tips for Safeguarding Your Accounts

  • Store your checks and financial documents in a secure place.
  • Regularly pick up your incoming mail and report missing bills, statements, etc.
  • Create strong passwords (use a combination of numbers, letters and punctuation).
  • Install a firewall and anti-virus program
  • Keep your software up-to-date.
  • Always back up your important files and folders, and store your back-ups in a safe place.


Cape Cod Five will never contact you via phone, email or text requesting information such as account number, password, Social Security Number or other confidential information.


Beware of Fraud Schemes

Fraud schemes are more common than you think.

Ignore requests to send or receive money on behalf of a government agency, a company or an individual, no matter how attractive the offer.
Unsolicited requests for your confidential information, or "phishing," is an attempt to get you to give out confidential information like your password, Social Security number or account numbers, particularly online (sometimes over the phone, but only if you initiated the contact).

It’s “phishy” if you receive…

  • Demanding messages requesting an urgent response on your part.
  • Messages instructing you to confirm personal information; i.e., Social Security number, credit or check card numbers, passwords, etc.
  • Requests for any of your personal identity numbers or other types of personal information like birthdays and your mother's maiden name.
  • Messages with misspellings and sloppy wording.
  • Messages including a “live” link to a website — ALWAYS type the URL directly into your browser.
  • Emailed instructions to download software — something we'll never ask you to do.

Phishing Examples:

  • An email message stating that your Bank's customers have been experiencing a large number of identity theft attempts, then asking you to click a link and confirm your identity.
  • An email informing you that there will be a charge to your account for some official-sounding reason, and that you should click a link if you wish to decline this transaction or charge.
  • An email request, purportedly from the FDIC, any financial institution or website, asking you to set up a secure on-line network code to protect against credit card fraud by providing personal financial or other information.

Tech Support Scams

Never respond to an unsolicited offer for tech support. They are scams that take advantage of concerns about computer security and may take the form of an unsolicited phone call or a pop-up window on your computer. The basic scare tactic is: “Your computer has a virus/is broken. Let us fix the problem.” The individuals running the scam then try to obtain personal information, or gain remote access to your computer where they add malware, log your important passwords or even steal money from your accounts.
To avoid tech support scams:
  • Don’t give control of your computer to someone who says they need to activate software.
  • Don’t give control of your computer to someone who calls you claiming to be from tech support. Instead, hang up and call the company at a number you know to be correct.
  • Never call a “tech support” phone number that appears in a pop-up window on your computer.
  • Never provide your credit card information, financial information, or passwords to someone who claims to be from tech support.
  • To learn more about telephone or pop-up window tech support scams, we recommend the following resource provided by the Federal Trade Commission: 


Fake Check Scams

Not all scams are digital. Protect your checks:
  • Never agree to pay to claim a prize.
  • Never agree to pay for grants from the government or foundations.
  • Never agree to cash checks and send the money somewhere as part of a job working from home.
  • Never agree to wire money to anyone you have not met in person and known for a long time.
  • If it seems suspicious, get advice.
You’ll find lots of specific information on how to protect your identity and what to do if you think you might be a victim of identity theft at the Federal Trade Commission website: Fighting Back Against Identity Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend.
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