Monterey County Bank



Connecting with friends

and family online

Downloading apps  

Sharing what you're doing

and where you are

Sharing photos

and videos on-the-go


Building your online profiles

and reputation


The truth is there are some risks involved in posting, playing, and interacting with people online. It can be easy to over-share, put yourself or others as risk, and compromise your computer.  The following information is being provided as a helpful tips guide to online safety and security.



Use privacy settings. Find out how to turn on privacy settings on your apps and social media — then do it.

Think about when it makes sense to turn off your location. There are apps that let you find out where your family or friends are — and let them find you. Use location features only with people you know personally. And for other apps, ask yourself, “Does this app need to know where I am?”


Some information should stay private. Your Social Security number and financial information — like your bank account or credit card numbers — should remain confidential.

Don’t reply to messages that ask for your personal information — like passwords. That’s true even if the message looks like it’s from a friend, family member, or company you know — or says something bad will happen if you don’t reply. Chances are it’s a fake, sent to steal your information. Just delete it.

Don’t stay permanently signed in to accounts. Log out when you’re done using them.

Got apps? Try to check what information the app collects — before downloading. And check out your own privacy settings. Also think about whether getting that app is really worth sharing the details of your life. You might be giving the app’s developers access to your personal information.


Passwords are one way to keep other people out of your accounts. Here’s how to create good ones:

Be unique. Come up with different passwords for your different accounts. If you reuse the same password and it’s stolen, someone could use it to hack into your other accounts.

Be strong. The longer your password, the harder it is to crack. Create a password with at least 12 characters. Use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.

Avoid the obvious. When creating passwords and security questions, don’t use names, dates, phone numbers, where you go to school, or anything someone could learn about you from social media. That’s too easy to guess. Get creative! And definitely don’t use “password123.”

Keep it private. Don’t share your passwords with anybody.


Guess what? Many public Wi-Fi hotspots — like at libraries, coffee shops, and airports — aren’t secure. And they may not protect your passwords, messages, photos, and account info that you send and receive.

Here’s how to protect your information when using public Wi-Fi:

Turn off the Wi-Fi auto-connect feature. That way you can choose which networks to use and when.

Look for a pop-up window asking for a WPA or WPA2 password. If you’re not asked for a password to join a Wi-Fi hotpot, other people might be able to see what you’re sending.

Use secure websites. Look for sites with a padlock symbol or https in the address. The “s” stands for secure.

Don’t use apps that ask for personal information. If your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, your apps that use the internet will connect to that network, too.


Be cautious about opening attachments or clicking on links. They may hide viruses or spyware that could mess up your device.

Password-protect your devices. It’ll help prevent annoying “pocket-dials” and help keep your photos, messages, and accounts from falling into the wrong hands.

Whether it’s your phone, laptop, or tablet, don’t leave it in public — even for a minute.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation’s consumer protection agency. The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace. The information provided herein in based on the FTC's Heads Up: Stop Think Connect booklet.

Click Here to view a complete PDF copy of the Heads Up: Stop Think Connect booklet.

Click Here to access additional consumer resources provided by the FTC. 

This page revised as of: 12/16/16


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