SAGINAW — The accounting and business advisory firm Rehmann pointed out Thursday that you don’t have to be a banking industry behemoth to benefit from shoring up your digital defenses.

Rehmann experts say a modest amount of proactive measures will allow you, too, to keep online fraudsters and other criminal elements at bay. 
* If you receive an email from a company with which you have a legitimate relationship, do not rely on any links or phone numbers contained in that message. Instead, visit their website and log in directly from there, or call the phone number listed on the home page.  Never divulge private information about yourself or your firm in response to an email, phone or mail request no matter what, no matter the source of the request.

* Only open email attachments that you are expecting or that come from trusted sources. Even then, practice caution: the email addresses of friends and colleagues can be hacked or spoofed. If text within the message is brief and bordering on the nonsensical, contact the source by phone before opening anything. And when in doubt, throw it out.

* Install and use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and keep it updated and patched. Review the software weekly to make sure the latest updates have installed — it will only take a few moments and could save you a good deal of aggravation (or worse) down the road.

* Never use your Social Security number as a password, and do not provide your Social Security number on any website unless you are absolutely sure about the site, its security and that it is required. Even then, inquire how it will be used and protected. Request an alternative to using your Social Security number.

* A little white lie can help keep you protected. Just because a website asks you for the name of your first pet as part of its password reminder feature doesn’t mean you have to provide them the actual name of your first pet. (Same goes for providing your oldest sibling’s middle name, mother’s maiden name, etc.) Shrouding personal information in this way will help protect you against social engineering attempts, where criminals try to crack passwords by leveraging data pulled from social media sites or other means. Yes, sometimes it’s okay to lie!
Rehmann is a fully integrated financial services firm of CPAs, consultants, wealth advisors and corporate investigators dedicated to providing clients proactive ideas to help them prosper professionally and personally. The firm offers a cross-functional team approach that gives clients direct access to a professional in any available service. Rehmann is ranked in the top 35 firms in the United States, with nearly 800 associates in 21 offices located in Michigan, Ohio, Florida and Indiana.

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