Security and Privacy
Be safe. Be secure. Be informed.
Prairie Capital Management is committed to protecting your information and implements strong security measures to protect the information you’ve placed in our care. We use layers of physical and cyber security techniques to safeguard your information around the clock. We don’t believe that security is a one-time commitment. We’re continuously monitoring and assessing our security procedures to make sure our safety measures evolve as technology does.
Find out more about how to help avoid being a victim of fraud:
Protect Yourself Online
The Internet has transformed in the last several decades to become a tool that permeates nearly every aspect of our lives. Whether it’s for online shopping or email, social media or news websites, the Internet is used daily for a variety of activities. However, it’s important to remember that in addition to offering convenient access to resources, the web can also expose you to identity theft, fraud or other cybercrimes.
What we do online, whether at home or at work, has the potential to affect everyone. Instead of avoiding the Internet, which is a nearly impossible task, make an effort to smarten up your online habits:
- Keep your computers and mobile devices updated – Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats. Turn on automatic updates so you receive the newest fixes as they become available.
- Set strong passwords with at least eight characters in length and a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters.
- Use different passwords for every account – It may be easier to remember one password, but if the password and email address you use for one account gets in the hands of the wrong person, they will start trying it on other sites and services.
- Think before you click – Be vigilant about the links you click in an email, especially when they come from companies. Don’t click on odd Facebook messages with links. If your friend is sending the email, make sure it sounds like the person you know; otherwise his or her account could have been compromised.
- Watch out for phishing scams that use fraudulent emails and websites to trick users into disclosing private account or login information. Do not click on links or open any attachments or pop-up screens from unfamiliar sources.
- Keep personal information personal – Hackers can use social media profiles to figure out your passwords and answer those security questions in the password reset tools. Lock down your privacy settings and avoid posting things like birthdays, addresses, mother’s maiden name, etc. Be wary of requests to connect from people you do not know.
- Secure your Internet connection – Always protect your home wireless network with a password. When connected to public Wi-Fi networks, be cautious about what information you are sending.
- Shop securely online – Avoid sending payment information or credit card numbers through email. Make sure all personal information transactions are done on a secure site. When shopping online, only use trusted, secure websites. Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure the address bar changes from an “http” to an “https” address and includes a padlock logo to the right or left of the browser address bar. The “s” stands for “secure,” and if you double-click on the padlock logo, you’ll see a digital certificate for the website. When shopping online, use credit cards, not debit cards. This will minimize the damage in the event of a compromised account.
- Pay attention – It might seem obvious, but remember to keep your eyes open any time you’re using an Internet service.
Protect Your Mobile Device
These days, most people own a smartphone or a tablet, or in many cases, both. They help us stay connected, be more efficient and make it easier to coordinate our busy personal and professional lives. It’s easy to take for granted the type of information you’re accessing and sharing on these devices, but what may seem to be insignificant information could provide an attacker with an opportunity.
Given that so much information is stored or accessed through our mobile devices, it’s very important to keep these devices secure, which is not difficult to do.
Here are a few simple steps to help you protect your personal and company information:
- Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
- Watch out for public Wi-Fi. Avoid online shopping, banking or other activities that require use of sensitive information when using public Wi-Fi. Use your mobile network whenever possible.
- Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device. Confidential company or customer information should never be stored on a personal device and only accessed using the appropriate approved tools.
- Use caution when downloading apps. Apps can contain malicious software, worms, and viruses. Beware of apps that ask for unnecessary permissions, and make sure you’re downloading the company’s authentic app. You can generally find these on their website instead of going through the Apple App Store or Google Play.
- Update the software for your phone and mobile apps whenever a new version is released, which may contain critical security updates.
- Use the passcode lock and thumbprint on your smartphone and other devices. Codes and biometric security of this nature will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen. Enable the “Find your device” feature, if available.
- Beware of mobile phishing. Avoid opening links and attachments in emails and texts, especially from senders you don’t know. And be wary of ads (not from your security provider) claiming that your device is infected.
- Clear your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique.
Prevent Identity Theft
Identity theft occurs when an individual’s personal information (name, address, Social Security number (SSN), credit/debit card information, etc.) is used to commit theft or fraud without their knowledge. Your information can be sold online or in-person and be used to file fraudulent tax returns, obtain credit reports, access bank accounts, create IDs or apply for loans.
What steps should I take if I am a victim of identity theft?
- Notify all three credit bureaus and ask that a fraud alert be placed on your file.
- Equifax ‡ 800.525.6285
- Experian ‡ 888.397.3742
- TransUnion ‡ 800.680.7289
- Request a copy of your credit report which is free to identity theft victims.
- Notify the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 877.438.4338.
- Keep carefully written records of everyone you speak with and what was discussed. Use registered mail when sending important correspondence.
- File the appropriate local police reports and request a copy of each report for your records.
How can thieves get my personal information and how can I prevent it?
Social Engineering/Phishing Scams
There are various phishing and social engineering scams that target victims by phone or email claiming that they are from a legitimate company and need to update your account information, issue you a refund, remove a virus on your computer, etc. Never provide personal information over the phone or via email. If you believe the caller or email isn’t legitimate, trust your instinct and contact the actual company directly to verify the request.
One of the easiest ways a thief can gather information about you is to dig through the trash. Never throw out anything that has your account numbers or personal information on it without shredding it first. Using a crosscut paper shredder will prevent the thief from pasting strips or credit cards back together to get your personal information.
There are many vulnerable items containing your personal information that you put in your mailbox every day. If you are going to be out of town and don’t have a locked mailbox, contact the United States Postal Service (USPS) at 800.275.8777 to request your mail be held or visit their website. When mailing items that contain personal information or checks, mail them in a sealed mailbox or drop them at your local post office.
Using Wireless Networks
Be cautious when using your laptop or mobile device on a free wireless network (coffee shop, retail store, etc.) as the network is usually not secure. A cybercriminal may be able to view personal information that is being sent or received on the wireless network. Only use your laptop or mobile device on secure wireless networks.
Personal Documents At Home
Checkbooks, bills and financial statements may be stored in your top desk drawer or perhaps piled up on your kitchen counter. Secure personal information in your home in a file cabinet or safe, especially if you have others living with you, hire outside help or are having service work done in your home.
Remember to only carry what you need. Don’t carry extra credit cards, your passwords, your Social Security card or passport in your wallet or purse.