Home > Security > Online security > How to protect yourself online

There are plenty of things you can do to keep yourself in tiptop secure condition online. These include protecting yourself from viruses as well as strategies to keep your identity safe online.

What you can do to ensure that your computer and online banking is secure. 

> Top tips to protect yourself online
> Password and access codes
> Hoax emails and online fraud
> Security software
> Anti-virus
> Anti-spyware
> Your firewall

Top tips to protect yourself online

  1. Keep passwords, access codes and any other security information secret including covering your online banking access code with using in a public place. Teachers Mutual Bank will never ask you to provide your access code to a Teachers Mutual Bank employee.
  2. Protect all your other personal information, including destroying your bank statements securely, collecting your mail promptly and not providing your details to anyone you do not trust.
  3. Keep your computer safe by having up to date security software, checking you are only using trusted sites for purchasing items and not opening emails you’re not sure about.
  4. Keep your computer browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox), and product software (Microsoft Office/Adobe flash, etc) up to date. Software providers frequently develop updates and patches to address new and developing security threats.
  5. Report anything you are suspicious of immediately, especially if you think your card has been stolen, a suspicious transaction is on your bank statement, or your mail has been accessed by someone.

Passwords and access codes

Select a hard-to-guess access code

  • Between 4 and 16 characters, containing numbers, letters and symbols.
  • Don’t use dictionary words, names of people, pets, sports teams, postcodes, phone numbers, birthdays or any other easily identifiable information.
  • Don’t use an access code that you use for another service.
  • Memorise your access code.


Using your access code safely

  • Ensure that you are not observed when entering your access code
  • Never disclose it to anyone, including family members or our staff.
  • Change your access code regularly
  • Don’t write it down, or record it within a file stored on your computer, mobile phone or other device
  • Always log out after using online banking
  • Care should always be taken in unknown areas, like internet cafes, to prevent any other persons viewing your member number and access code. This applies equally to people watching the keyboard or watching the mouse on the screen. We recommend that you do not access online banking via public access computers, e.g. Internet cafés, universities etc
  • If you suspect that someone else knows your access code, change it immediately via internet banking.

Hoax emails and online fraud

What to do if you suspect you have received a hoax email.

  1. Do not open it or click on any links or attachments
  2. Delete the email immediately
  3. Never enter any personal information including PINs or access codes
  4. If you have already clicked on the link or attachment, we recommend you run a full system anti-virus scan and immediately change your online banking access code via internet banking
  5. Report the incident to Teachers Mutual Bank

Below is an example of what a phishing or hoax email may look like. It is important to report phishing emails to us but make sure you never click on any links in the email:

Sample of hoax email 

These hoax emails appear as being sent from Teachers Mutual Bank and try to trap you into providing your personal information or get you to download a virus onto your computer.

Teachers Mutual Bank will not contact you via email to ask you to provide or confirm personal information (e.g. credit card number, account number, internet banking access code and/or PIN).

Hoax emails

Phishing is the use of hoax emails alleging to be from an organisation, requesting confirmation of personal details such as account numbers, credit card details, internet banking logins, passwords or access codes.

Details entered into a fraudulent web site can then be used on the real website to commit fraud. These hoax emails often look genuine, with the same logo and branding as the actual organisation.

Virus or Trojan emails

These are usually sent from unknown senders and contain links or attachments that may download and install malicious software (Malware) onto your computer.

If you act on the email, the malware will try to install itself automatically on your computer, depending on the security software on your computer. The malicious software is designed to capture any information that you enter into online services such as internet banking, and send it back to a criminal who can use it for fraud.

There are many email scams designed to compromise online user credentials or personal information, in order to illegally obtain funds. These unsolicited emails are sent in high volumes to random email addresses in the hope that they will find banking customers.

If you receive unsolicited emails, do not click on any links, open attachments or enter any personal information as they may expose your computer to viruses, worms, trojans, rootkits or spyware.

Teachers Mutual Bank does not send emails requesting you to confirm or disclose your internet banking login information.

Security software

Ensure you have security software installed on your computer including anti-virus, anti-spyware, anti-spam and firewall products. It is important to ensure that they are regularly updated.

By installing anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall security software on your computer and ensuring regular automatic updates are enabled, you can help to keep your computer protected against external attacks by viruses, worms or hackers.

This can be done for little or no cost using free software or commercial products available.

Often a free trial of security software is offered with a new computer. If you activate these, take note of the expiry date and ensure that you renew the subscription before it expires.


Although installing reputable anti-virus software and keeping it updated should protect you against most known viruses, you need to be cautious about not opening emails, email attachments or files on your system of unknown origin.

Even if you know the sender, it is a good idea to always scan files for viruses before opening them.

Only install software that is received from a trusted source and is published by a trusted software vendor.

If you choose to install free security applications available on the internet, we recommend you seek guidance from an IT professional to ensure you are choosing reputable applications.


Spyware collects personal information from your computer without your consent and is usually installed without your knowledge. This can occur when you click on a helpful pop-up message, but a lot of spyware is bundled and automatically installed with some free software packages.

Your firewall

It is essential that any computer connected to the internet is protected by a firewall to ensure the security of your financial transactions and computer. A firewall helps protect your computer from hackers who may try to steal or delete information from your computer.

If you are using a combined modem/router, or any type of internet or broadband router you should review the documentation that came with the device and familiarise yourself with the configuration page. Usually the configuration page can be easily accessed by typing the device's IP address available from their documentation, into your web browser's address bar.

Many of these devices have a built-in firewall which is often disabled by default. By enabling the built-in firewall, you will be better protected against manual and automated attacks on your computer system.

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