Some consumers may want to know how
their personal information is used by their bank and whether it is shared with affiliates
of the bank or other parties.
Starting July 2001, banks are required to give you a copy
conducting business online or offline. You may also see a copy of it posted at the
banks Web site. By reviewing this policy you can learn what information the bank
keeps about you, and what information, if any, it shares with other companies.
Banks may want to share information about you to help market products specific to your
needs and interests. If you do not wish to participate in information sharing, however,
you have the right to prevent your bank from sharing your private personal information
with parties not affiliated with the bank, except in certain limited circumstances. As of
July 2001, your bank should provide a clear method for you to "opt out" of this
type of information sharing.
You may have heard that some companies track your Web browsing habits while at their
site, to understand your interests and then to market particular services or promotions.
You may want to ask whether your bank tracks your browsing habits if these practices
concern you. Also, your Web browser may enable you to block the ability of outside
companies to track your browsing habits.
Your bank and your internet service provider may have more information about how to
protect your privacy online.
Help Keep Your Transaction Secure
The Internet is a public network. Therefore, it is
important to learn how to safeguard your banking information, credit card numbers, Social
Security Number and other personal data.
Look at your banks Web site for information about its
security practices, or contact the bank directly.
Also learn about and take advantage of security features. Some examples are:
Encryption is the process of scrambling private information to prevent
unauthorized access. To show that your transmission is encrypted, some browsers display a
small icon on your screen that looks like a "lock" or a "key" whenever
you conduct secure transactions online. Avoid sending sensitive information, such as
account numbers, through unsecured e-mail.
Passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs) should be used when
accessing an account online. Your password should be unique to you and you should change
it regularly. Do not use birthdates or other numbers or words that may be easy for others
to guess. Always carefully control to whom you give your password. For example, if you use
a financial company that requires your passwords in order to gather your financial data
from various sources, make sure you learn about the companys privacy and security
General security over your personal computer such as virus protection and
physical access controls should be used and updated regularly. Contact your hardware and
software suppliers or Internet service provider to ensure you have the latest in security
If you have a security concern about your online accounts, contact your bank to discuss
possible problems and remedies.
Remember that nonfinancial Web sites that are linked to your
banks site are not FDIC-insured.
As an added convenience to their customers, some banks offer online links to merchants,
retail stores, travel agents and other nonfinancial sites. An outside companys
products and services are not insured by the FDIC, and your bank may not guarantee the
products and services.
As in everyday business, before you order a product or service online, make sure you
are comfortable with the reputation of the company making the offer. Only then should you
give out your credit card or debit card number. And never give the number unless you
initiated the transaction.