Computer Safety Guidelines

Computer Safety Tips

Below are steps you can take to help reduce risk when conducting business online.

General Computer Security

  • Control physical access to your personal computer (PC) to help prevent unauthorized persons from using your PC
  • Select passwords that would be difficult for others to guess, and change them frequently
  • Do not give your passwords to anyone; do not save passwords on your PC or leave written notes with your password near your PC
  • Always close your browser or select "Exit" after using a secure website
  • When your computer is not in use, shut it down or disconnect from the Internet
  • Do not access the Internet without first enabling an updated firewall
  • Ensure accounts used to access the Internet only have the minimum privileges required; for example, do not use administrator accounts to do your daily work; accounts with administrator level rights allow viruses and malware to install themselves onto your PC
  • Keep all applications up to date with the latest versions and patches (Examples: Adobe, Java, operating system (OS), web browser, etc.)

What are Computer Viruses?

A computer virus is a program or piece of code that can copy itself and be loaded onto your computer without your knowledge. Examples of computer viruses are "worms" and "Trojan horses."

What are Spyware Programs?

Spyware is computer software that may monitor and collect your keystrokes and send personal information to third parties without your consent.

Virus & Spyware Management

  • Install anti-virus and anti-spyware management software on your PC and use it regularly
  • Keep your anti-virus & anti-spyware software up to date
  • Be cautious when downloading and running programs, as they may contain unsecure data which cannot be filtered
  • Use extreme caution when opening emails received from unknown sources and do not launch or open any attachment from an unknown source - when in doubt, delete it without opening it

Tips if you suspect your computer has a virus program or spyware software

  • Make sure your anti-virus and anti-spyware software has the most recent updates; if you are unsure how to do this please contact your software maker(s)
  • Run a complete scan using your updated anti-virus and/or anti-spyware software; this should be done on a regular basis going forward

Next steps if your software has identified "virus/spyware" on your computer

  • Remove the virus program and/or spy-ware software
  • Change your FirstMerit Online Banking password
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report – for instructions and to learn more about how to shield yourself from identity theft, call the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 877-438-4338 or visit the FTC's Identity Theft website
  • Get a copy of your credit report and check for any discrepancies
  • Have your computers professionally serviced to keep all applications protected
  • Report any pop-ups in online banking or any suspicious account activity to us immediately by calling 888-554-4362, or email us
  • Contact any other financial companies that you do business with online