Your personal security and privacy are important to us.
Online banking makes managing your finances easy and convenient. However, there are measures you should take, and best practices to follow, whenever you go online to access your accounts. Because your online security is our priority, we have compiled suggestions and tips for safe browsing to help you avoid falling victim to Internet threats.
Our online banking system is safeguarded with the best security available in a commercial environment, ensuring that your information is protected while data is transmitted between your computer and our banking server.
Internet encryption protects your information while it is in transit between your computer and our systems. Encryption ensures that data cannot be read or altered because the information is scrambled. Our online banking website uses a 128-bit SSL, encrypting both request and response transactions, through a secure connection. To establish a secure connection, verify that the prefix of our website address in your browser reads 'https' (and not simply 'http'). All the browsers we support meet this requirement. If yours doesn't, please download the appropriate encryption support from your browser's supplier.
Controlled Access to Your Accounts
Your accounts can only be accessed by providing the correct login credentials and Personal Access Code (PAC), which only you know. Our employees never know these details and will never ask you to provide them with this information.
Enhanced Security Login Process
The first time you log in to your online banking account, you will be asked to choose from a list of security questions and answers. Be sure to pick questions with answers that are not easy to guess. Use ones that only you know. If you have a joint account, the questions and answers for both users must coincide. You can register your home or personal computer so that you will not have to answer a security question every time you log in. However, when you log in to your account from another machine, we will ask one of the security questions to confirm your identity.
For security reasons, we track the number of login attempts used to access your online banking. After a number of incorrect attempts to provide the correct PAC or answers to security questions, your online access will be immediately disabled. To regain access, please call our customer service representatives.
When visiting a branch, you can feel confident that your money is safe and secure, with the premises adorned by vaults, locked doors, security and surveillance. We are keeping you just as safe when you bank online but once your information reaches your computer, you have a responsibility to protect it.
Personal Access Codes (PAC)
Online credentials can be numerous as they are needed for email accounts, social networking sites, online newspapers and shopping websites. That's a lot of usernames and passwords – and it can be tempting to use the same combination for everything. But this makes it far too easy for hackers because once they have one password, they can access all your sites. Login credentials are the keys to your accounts so don't leave those keys around for anyone to find. For online banking, the key is your Personal Access Code (PAC). We recommend you:
- Choose a PAC that is easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess. Avoid using current phone numbers, dates of birth, or social insurance numbers.
- Be smart and don't save a list of your credentials on your PC. If you have to write them down, keep these details locked away somewhere only you can access or consider using password-management software, which secures and encrypts usernames and passwords and allows you to use a single master password.
- Do not share your PAC with anyone, especially online. Employees of our financial institution will never call, email, write or ask you to provide your online banking credentials. Ever.
- Don't authorize browsers to memorize your credentials. Saving these on your computer allows anyone using your PC to gain access to your login-protected sites.
- Consider changing your PAC every 90 days for optimum security.
When you move, it is important to notify us of your change of address. If your mailing information isn't up-to-date, statements or letters that contain personal information will continue to be sent to your former address.
You may prefer to eliminate paper statements altogether, avoiding any possibility of mail theft. Eliminate paper documents, go electronic and be secure while doing it. Our e-Statements are a digital archive of your monthly banking activity than can be downloaded as a PDF from our secure online banking site.
Logging In and Out
When you are finished with your banking session, always log out by clicking the "Log Out" button, as opposed to simply closing the browser window. To help protect your information, your online banking session will end automatically if there has been no activity for 20 minutes or if your visit lasts longer than 60 minutes. If your session has timed out, no further transactions can be made until you log in again. This time-out feature helps protect your accounts from unauthorized access if your PC is left unattended or if you have forgotten to log out.
Clearing Cookies and Cache
When you spend time on the Internet, your browser stores information, such as the websites you visit, the images and files you view, and your personal information, including passwords and login details. This data is held on your computer's hard drive and is known as 'cache.' Even though you may have logged out and closed your browser, this information may remain accessible. You can protect your data by clearing your browsing history regularly. This can be done in a few easy steps:
Internet Explorer Users
Click on the 'Tools' tab (or use the 'Ctrl-Shift-Delete' shortcut)
- Select 'Delete Browsing History'
- Choose the options you wish to erase and click 'Delete'
Click on the 'History' tab (or use the 'Ctrl-Shift-Delete' shortcut)
- Select 'Show All History' and/or
- Choose the time frame you wish to erase and click 'Delete'
Click on the 'History' tab
- Select 'Show all History'
- Choose the period you wish to erase and click 'Clear History'
Delete all your data:
- In the top-right corner of Chrome, click the Chrome menu.
- Select More tools > Clear browsing data.
- In the dialog that appears, select the checkboxes for the types of information that you want to remove.
- Use the menu at the top to select the amount of data that you want to delete. Select beginning of time to delete everything.
- Click Clear browsing data.
Delete specific items from your browsing data:
Instead of deleting entire categories of your browsing data, you can pick specific items to delete.
Some web browsers have a feature that allows you to browse the Internet without the browser storing information, such as the sites you visit, the images you see and videos you watch. This feature is sometimes used by people who share the same computer. Private browsing is a temporary option and must be selected in order for it to be activated. Private browsing, however, does not give you immunity to spyware or make you anonymous. It is still possible for your Internet service provider, employer or the websites you visit to track your online activity.
Monitoring Your Accounts
Frequently reviewing your paper and/or electronic account statements and registering for our alerts system ensures that you spot any incorrect or fraudulent transactions as soon as they occur. If your card has been skimmed (when the card's magnetic stripe and PIN are fraudulently copied by embedded devices at ATMs or point-of-sale devices) or unauthorized transactions have been made, you will want to catch this as soon as possible. Every time you receive an account statement verify you made all the transactions.
While pickpockets can only target a few people each day, Internet fraudsters cast their nets much wider, using the anonymity and reach of mass emails and fake websites. You can protect yourself from these situations by knowing how to identify and avoid these scams.
A common way for Internet scammers to obtain your personal information is through a method called phishing. Usernames, passwords, banking information and credit card details are phished through email or instant messaging. Phishing works by sending communications, which appear to be from your financial institution, but they are not. You are asked, supposedly by your financial institution, to log in to your online banking to verify account information. Often some type of security concern is cited as the issue. The fake email instructs you to click on a link that takes you to a non-legitimate version of your online banking site – one that is largely indistinguishable from the legitimate site – and you'll be asked to enter your credentials.
Phishing emails may include:
- Warnings about account closures
- Requests to update your information
- Offers to register for a new service
- Offers for pre-approved credit cards
- Free virus-protection programs
Once you click on the link, which directs you to a phishing website, you'll be prompted to enter personal or banking information. Phishing scams seek personal details, such as your address, social security number or mother's maiden name. The details obtained will then be used for identity theft.
Scam emails purporting to be from your credit card company or financial institution often have some telling signs, including:
- Poor spelling or grammar
- Alarmist content, warning that your account will be closed if you don't provide your banking or personal details immediately
- Notices that you've won a prize and are required to pay a fee in order to claim it
Never provide personal details or any account details in an email. Electronic messaging is not a secure form of communication. If you receive a message that you are unsure about, please contact us.
How to Avoid Phishing and Pharming Scams
We will never send you emails or communications asking you to verify or provide your online banking details. The best way to protect yourself is to never use a link provided in an email to access your online banking (because we don't send those; scammers do). Do not open emails or email attachments from unknown sources. Scan email through your anti-virus software.
Always type your financial institution's website address directly into your browser and remember to look for confirmation that you are browsing securely. The letter "s" in 'https' indicates you are navigating in a secure site, in comparison to the open and unprotected 'http' URLs. Look for the 'https' when online shopping, too.
Don't feel panicked when phishing emails caution of immediate account closures if your banking details cannot be verified. Don't believe emails warning that your account has been compromised or that you'll miss out on a great deal if you fail to act immediately. If you are concerned, call or visit one of our customer service representatives.
Install anti-virus software on your computer to protect your information, money and privacy. Such software detects viruses and cleans your computer so that harmful viruses do not spread. Set up your anti-virus to run frequent scans and update the software as soon as it is required. Ensure you have real-time scanning of every email and every file you download.
Malicious software (malware), spyware, worms and Trojans are the same class of destructive viruses; just with different names. Nobody wants a computer virus. They can steal your personal information, take over your PC and use your computer to attack other people's computers. Your PC can become infected through email attachments, downloading infected content or visiting harmful websites.
Spyware is exactly what it sounds like – tracking software that is downloaded to your computer (without your knowledge) when you visit certain Internet sites. Secretly, it gathers information about you and your browsing habits. This information can be trivial or it can include passwords and personal data that you wouldn't want criminals to get their hands on. It can also interfere with user controls and disable legitimate anti-virus programs.
The best way to protect your computer against spyware is smart browsing. Stay away from sites that look unsafe and avoid streaming or downloading content from untrustworthy sources. Many anti-virus products offer targeted spyware solutions that inspect your operating system, installed programs, downloads and files.
One of the most common viruses to watch out for is known as scareware. These scams pop-up on your screen and display alarmist warnings, telling you a virus has invaded your computer. Scareware prompts you to download (and often pay for) fake anti-virus software to remove the non-existent viruses. Scareware is a scam that tries to trick you into paying money in exchange for nothing.
You can protect against scareware by keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date and by being judicious about what you choose to download to your computer. You should also familiarize yourself with the interface of your legitimate anti-virus program, so you won't be fooled if one of these pop-ups appears.
Computers and Smartphones
We have created a secure channel to communicate with our customers, but you need to do your part by maintaining your computer up-to-date and virus-free.
We have created a secure channel to communicate with our customers, but you need to do your part by maintaining your computer up-to-date and virus-free.
Web browsers are the gateways to the Internet. Similar to having an up-to-date operating system, upgraded browsers provide more features, stability and security. Whether you use Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Chrome or something else, stay safe online by using the latest version available.
The latest versions of web browsers have security features that can identify and block harmful and fake websites and pop-ups, and warn you if a site is flagged as unsafe. Some browsers also have a 'Private Browsing' feature, which conceals your browsing history from others.
We suggest you update your browser. Now.
A firewall protects your computer and home network from harmful websites and hackers. It sits between your computer and the Internet, scanning information that is being transmitted. It allows for safe browsing, while blocking unauthorized intrusions. Even though you may think you have no information of value on your PC, firewalls also stop your computer from being used by hackers to send malicious software to other computers.
Most computers now come with a firewall as part of the standard operating system. However, you can get the maximum protection for your computer by installing additional firewalls and ensuring they are kept up-to-date.
Protecting Your Smartphone
Browsing the web has never been easier – it's all at your fingertips. Smartphones let you surf, shop or bank wherever you are. Make sure your information stays secure while you're on the move by following these smartphone-safe browsing tips:
- Activate your phone's password feature, which locks the screen and prevents anyone but you from accessing your phone. Set up the password feature on your phone with a code that only you know.
- Don't connect to unknown networks through Wi-Fi hotspots to make financial transactions.
- Beware of smishing – that's phishing on phones through text messages. Never download media or images, or click on text-message links that come from unrecognizable people or phone numbers. Never provide personal details or any account details using any form of electronic messaging because this is not a secure form of communication. If you are unsure, please contact us.
- Download apps exclusively from the official source for your smartphone's platform, such as the Android, Apple or BlackBerry stores.
- Install anti-virus software for your smartphone when available and update it frequently.
- Install location finding applications, which work with your phone's built-in GPS. These applications allow you to locate and/or remotely erase (or "wipe") data in your phone if it is lost or stolen.
- Update your smartphone's operating system as soon as newer versions are available.
Wi-Fi and E-Shopping
These days, everyone is on the go and it's not uncommon to access Wi-Fi at coffee shops, hotels, restaurants or airports. Using wireless networks to access information is convenient, but not risk-free. Be smart when you surf. Protect yourself from threats by:
- Using only a trusted computer to access your online banking. Don't use shared library or café computers.
- Managing your online banking only from secure networks. We recommend that you don't use unsecured public networks for anything sensitive.
- Connecting only to password-protected networks. If there are several networks available, ask employees of the organization which network they operate.
- Never leaving your computer unattended, especially if you are logged into your online banking.
- Using different PACs and security questions as login credentials. If someone obtains your credentials for one site, such as a social networking site, you don't want them to be able to access your other ones.
- Ensuring you log out before you close your browsers.
Online shopping is the epitome of convenience. There are no lines and no crowds, but it can also be a haven for fraudsters. Consider the following tips when using your credit cards online to ensure your information stays secure:
- Make sure that you are shopping at a trusted retailer when you enter your credit card details online.
- Provide retailers with only the necessary details to complete the transaction. These include your credit card number, expiry date, the security code on the back of the credit card and the card's billing address. Never provide your social insurance number, account details or your mother's maiden name. For shopping sites that require you to register with a username and password, we recommend you do not use your online banking PAC.
- Use your credit cards only on e-commerce websites that use secure browsing technology on the screens where you enter your card information. Ensure the web address begins with 'https' (as opposed to 'http') and has a closed padlock icon on the screen.
- Ensure that smaller retailers requesting credit card details have reputable contact details, a physical address and you feel comfortable with providing them your card information.
- Never give your account or credit card details to anyone on eBay or Craigslist.
This information describes in general terms how your personal information is collected and used within the online banking section of our site. The online banking area of the site is the area of our website that requires you to use your Member ID and Personal Access Code (PAC) to enter.
Controlled Access to your Information
To ensure that you are the only person accessing your personal financial information, we restrict access to the online banking section of the site by requiring that you enter your Member ID and PAC to login. Only you know your PAC. Our employees do not have access to your PAC, and they will not ask you to reveal it. If someone does ask you to provide your PAC to them, we ask that you refuse to do so and contact us immediately.
By nature, our Internet banking site has many transactional functions such as transfers between accounts and bill payment functions. These transactions are all logged to ensure that your accounts are debited or credited appropriately, and a history of each transaction is available to verify your account information. We store and use your transactional information in the same fashion as if you performed the transaction at a branch or through any other service channel.
We may also use transactional information for servicing your account — for example, billing you for the particular transactions that you perform, or for the services that you use.
Creating a Secure Channel
We create a secure channel between your browser and our server to protect your information when you use the site. To learn more about how we do this, please review our information on Internet Security.
To provide you with a convenient method for applying for loans and mortgages, or for purchasing other financial services products such as Registered Savings Plans, we may provide secure online application forms. These forms capture personal information that we use to provide you with the products and services you request. This information is processed in a similar way to application forms received through our other channels.
Website Usage Statistics
To continually improve our site, we often collect statistics about how our members are using it. These usage statistics are only viewed in the aggregate and are not associated with you as an individual. We use this information for purposes such as improving the pages where our members are having difficulties.
The information collected may include your IP address, your browser type and your operating system, as well as data such as the number and types of pages visited, and the length of time spent per page and on the site overall.
We also use a key web technology called cookies. A cookie is a small information token that sits on your computer. As you use this site, cookies are passed back and forth between our server and your browser.
Specifically, we use two kinds of cookies — session cookies and persistent cookies. A session cookie exists only for the length of your browsing session and is deleted when you close your browser. A persistent cookie is a cookie that stays on your computer after you close your browser. A persistent cookie may or may not expire on a given date.
We use a session cookie to maintain the integrity of your online banking session. With each page that you visit, the cookie is passed back and forth between our server and your browser. We use the cookie to distinguish your session from the many others that may be happening at the same time. Our session cookies never store any personal information, such as your name, or date of birth, or financial information, such as your accounts and balances.
We may use persistent cookies to (i) provide you with a customized experience by recording your preferences; (ii) gather statistical information such as average time spent on a page; and (iii) to show you targeted marketing information about us when you visit other websites. The data gathered provides us with information on how we can improve the design, content and navigation of our website.
Most recent browser versions allow you to set some level of control over which cookies are accepted and how your browser uses them. For example, it may be set to notify you when it is receiving a cookie so that you accept cookies from only known, reliable sites such as this one. If you are concerned about cookies, we encourage you to upgrade your browser to a recent version and review the Help section of your browser to learn more about its specific control features.
Memorized Accounts Feature
We use a persistent cookie to store information to help you personalize the site and to make it easier to use. For example, we allow you to make the login easier by remembering your login information within our Memorized Accounts feature. Since the Memorized Accounts feature is optional, this cookie only contains information that you have entered into it. We never store your Personal Access Code (PAC) in a cookie.
To ensure that no-one else can access your personal information, always use the logout button to end an online banking session. It is located at the top of every page. When you exit using the logout button, we delete your session cookie so that your session cannot be resumed unless your Member ID and PAC are re-entered.
Automatic Session Time-outs
In the event that you leave your computer without logging out, the online banking feature of this site has been designed to end your session automatically if our system detects that you haven't provided any instructions or used the browser buttons to navigate for several minutes. To restart the session, you will need to provide your PAC again.
To communicate with us electronically, we strongly recommend that you use our Contact Us feature. This feature provides a secure channel for sending us comments, questions or instructions.
General email is not secure since it passes through many points on its route from you to us. If you are using general email to communicate with us, we strongly recommend that you do not include personal financial information (such as account numbers) within the email as we cannot guarantee its confidentiality en route to us.
When you email us your comments, questions or instructions, you provide us your email address and we use it to correspond with you. We then store your email and our replies to you in case we correspond further.
Links to Other Sites
Our site may also contain links to other websites or Internet resources. As an example, from time-to-time we may provide links to Microsoft or Netscape to assist you in upgrading your Internet browser. However, we have no control over these other websites or Internet resources and do not control their collection, use and disclosure of your personal information. Always review the Privacy Statements of the sites that you are viewing.
We welcome any questions or concerns about your privacy relating to use of our website. Please use the Contact Us form to submit your questions or comments.
As we continue to expand our online banking service to serve you better, and as new Internet technologies become available, we may update the information on this page at any time, to reflect changes.