Fraud Prevention & Cybersecurity

Learn how to spot and prevent fraudulent activities to safeguard your finances and personal information.

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Even though online banking is safe, you should be careful when giving out any personal financial information online. Take the following precautions when using the Internet to protect your personal information:

  • Keep track of your accounts regularly. Ensure that only authorized transactions are posted.
  • Any e-mail requesting personal financial information should be treated with suspicion.
  • No matter who sent the attachment or file, be cautious before opening it or downloading it.
  • It is never a good idea to throw away ATM receipts, credit card statements, credit cards, or bank statements in a usable state.
  • Passwords for online accounts should never be the same.
  • Whenever you bank online, ensure you log off properly even if you are on your personal computer.

Tips for Protecting Your Information

Your first line of defense to protect your digital assets is your password. The number one reason for data breaches continues to be compromised passwords; therefore, securing your passwords should always be a top priority.

What is a Strong Password?

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends the following guidelines for creating strong passwords:

  • Use a minimum password length of at least 8 characters
  • Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols
  • Avoid using easily guessable information, such as personal information or common words
  • Don’t reuse passwords for multiple accounts
  • Consider using a password manager that can generate and store complex passwords for each account you have

What Passwords Should Be Avoided?

  • Your name, child’s name, or spouse’s name
  • Birthday or SSN
  • Identifiable numbers from your phone number, address or license plate
  • Street Name
  • Correctly spelled dictionary words or sequential alpha/numeric strings

Tips for Creating a Strong Password

Try using a shorthand version of a passphrase. Examples would be:

  • “yankee d00dle went to town” could be transformed into: YDW2town!
  • “I hate broccoli” could become: eyeH8brocolee
  • “Five barbequed chickens” could look like: 5bbkewChicknz

Strong passwords combine random letters, numbers, and special characters in a way that is intentionally illogical and nonsensical. For Example:

  • 78HK&302mmz
  • 5pN!!X99732$

Security questions?

Think of them as an added layer of protection! Choose questions whose answers are personal and memorable for you, yet challenging for others to uncover.

And remember: never write down your security answer keys or share them with anyone – keep them confidential to maintain the integrity of your online identity.


Think Before You Tap

Seemingly more and more, text messages are being used for identity theft, bank account take-overs, and to convince you to release your personal information. Anytime you receive a text or SMS, be cautious and review where it came from before you respond or click any links. If you don’t know the sender, don’t respond.

Junk and Spam text messages can be reported to your phone carrier by copying the message and or forwarding it to 7726 (SPAM). You can also report it to the Federal Trade Commission at



Use Official Mobile Apps

Make sure you are using the official Mobile apps from your banking provider. You should only acquire these apps from the official Apple App Store or Google Play store. If you are unsure which apps to use, do not hesitate to call your banking provider for clarification.

Pop-Up Ads

Your computer can become infected with malware by clicking on pop-ups that appear in a separate browser window. In some cases, pop-ups make legitimate offers, but in many others, hackers are attempting to gather sensitive information about you.

It is unlikely that your bank will ever ask you to verify personal information in a pop-up advertisement.

Viruses, Spyware, and Malware – Oh My!

These are destructive programs that can be loaded onto your computer with or without your permission or knowledge. Spyware may appear as a legitimate program or application but will actually track your activity and collect your sensitive data. Viruses, malware, and other harmful programs can render your information exposed and your computer inoperable. Ransomware is a popular tactic where a program is installed on the computer that prevents you from doing anything until you pay the attacker a ransom.

To help avoid these issues and others, keep your computer updated with the most recent web browser and operating system updates and patches available. Be sure to also load an anti-virus software on your computer, and make sure that you have a firewall enabled.

Beware of suspicious emails claiming to be from Texas Farm Credit or other regulatory entities! These scams aim to trick you into revealing sensitive account information by pretending to be urgent messages with subjects like “Important Update.” Remember: real Texas Farm Credit and regulatory entity communications will never ask for confidential account details.

Always exercise caution when interacting with online communications from any institution. If an email appears suspicious, don’t click on links or respond to requests for personal information. Instead, reach out to Texas Farm Credit directly through a trusted contact method to verify the authenticity of the message.


Cybercriminals may pose as reputable organizations to trick victims into divulging sensitive information such as account numbers. This type of fraud, known as “social engineering,” can have devastating consequences when scammers use stolen data to make unauthorized transactions. One particularly insidious form of social engineering is called phishing. Phishing attacks involve cybercriminals attempting to gather personal and financial information from unsuspecting consumers through deceptive emails or websites that mimic legitimate ones.

To stay safe from phishing scams, keep in mind that Texas Farm Credit would never request sensitive information from you through email. This includes personal details like your social security number, as well as access ID, passcode, account numbers, or ATM/debit card numbers and PINs. If an email asks for this type of information, it’s likely a phishing attempt – don’t respond or click on any links!

Phishing scams often try to trick you into revealing personal information through phone calls or emails. Be cautious of attempts to gather data such as:

  • First and Last Name
  • Debit Card or ATM Card Number
  • PIN (Debit or ATM Card Personal Identification Number)
  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Account Number and/or Account Type

Before conducting an online transaction, ensure your personal information is protected by verifying the site’s security. Look for indicators such as:

  • URLs starting with “https” instead of “http”
  • A lock icon in the lower right corner of your browser

When using free public Wi-Fi spots, be even more vigilant – these networks are generally not secure.

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