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Growth & Jobs | Personal data security key to protecting your money - Dystant

Published:Tuesday | October 4, 2022 | 12:06 AM

RICARDO DYSTANT, chief of digital transformation and special projects, JN Bank, is urging Jamaicans to be more proactive when it comes to educating themselves about phishing scams and the various forms of cyber threats in a bid to better protect their money.

Dystant said that while banks and other financial institutions continue to do their part in protecting customers’ data from unscrupulous entities, they also have a major role to play when it comes to protecting their information.

He was addressing a recent finance and management seminar hosted by final-year students of the Portmore Community College via Zoom. The virtual event was held under the theme ‘Digital Innovation and Utilisation: Minimising Illegality while Maintaining Public Awareness’.

The JN Bank executive noted that advancements in information and communications technology continue to provide consumers of financial services with significant benefits, including ease and convenience, as well as greater security and protection.

On the other hand, he pointed out that threats have also become more sophisticated, as technology is constantly evolving and the cybersecurity landscape always shifting.

“Fortunately, so too have the security features and capabilities of financial institutions. I can assure you that security is a major priority for financial institutions, and that extends to mobile and online banking,” he stressed.

Dystant said banks have a legal responsibility to keep customers’ data safe, including protecting it from cyberattacks or unauthorised access.

He noted that to help ensure the safety of customers’ data, financial institutions use sophisticated technology and monitoring techniques, intricate firewalls, and other methods of securing customer information, to include multifactor authentication, encryption, privacy policies and training, anomaly detection, and more.

Dystant said consumers also have a responsibility to protect their personal information. He said a major part of this defence mechanism is education, as well as the use and regular updating of technological protections, such as antivirus software, anti-spyware, and firewalls.

He said it’s important that banking customers stay on top of the latest trends, further pointing out that they cannot afford to get caught off guard.

“Education is important, because scams and other forms of banking frauds are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Many of the people behind these scams are educated and they are doing their research. Therefore, you must also stay ahead and ensure you educate yourself and do your own research,” he advised.

Dystant said consumers need to know the different kinds of threats to look out for, such as phishing scams and attacks, ransomware, vishing, spoofing and skimming.

“These texts, emails, calls are not coming from people who just get up and randomly decide to engage in scamming. These persons are trained in writing these programmes, and they know exactly what they are doing, so it’s critical you stay on your guard,” he warned.

Dystant also urged consumers to cooperate with their financial institution and to take the necessary steps to protect their data.

“Many persons sometimes fail to even update their contact information with their financial institution. They change their phone number or their email address, and they don’t inform their banks, and so they are not receiving critical notifications or alerts that could warn them of suspicious activity on their accounts,” he said. “Their online access isn’t working, and they don’t communicate this with their bank, so that the bank can either shut down the profile or reset it.”

He also advised that persons must get acquainted with their bank’s policies and processes when it comes to contacting their customers and requesting information.

“No bank will ever ask you for confidential data, like login and transaction passwords. Some institutions have a no-click policy. My recommendation is: do not give your credentials to anyone, and never type it in any email or on any platform other than your bank’s authentic website,” Dystant recommended.

He offered the following tips to keep your data safe:

• Read widely and educate yourselves about the latest threats and technology.

• Choose strong and unique passwords.

• Enable two-factor authentication.

• Steer clear of public Wi-Fi.

• Be wary of phishing scams: if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

• Choose trustworthy financial apps.