How We Protect Client Information
Back To Coaching Center
Financial Resources

How We Protect Privacy and Personal Information

November 19, 2021 | 5 min. read

At First Command, we believe in protecting the privacy and personal information of our clients. Learn more about our approach to protecting your data.

Not all that long ago – depending, perhaps, on the vantage point from which you are currently viewing life – people thought nothing of having to wait several weeks to receive a statement in the mail providing them with the balances in their checking and savings account, or having to complete and mail in the proper paperwork (literally) just to redeem a few shares from their brokerage account or mutual fund. Today, the same information can be accessed online from our phones in a few seconds. We’ve come a long way, baby.

But as is inevitably the case with progress, there are tradeoffs. In order to have instant access to our personal information, we’ve had to make some concessions when it comes to protecting and securing that information. Stated simply, more than ever before, we are being asked to trust the financial institutions with which we do business to ensure our personal information cannot be accessed by what seems to be an ever-growing number of identity thieves and cybercriminals.

At First Command, we understand and embrace this responsibility. Here are some specific examples of steps we take and procedures we follow in the interest of protecting our clients:  

ENSURING PRIVACY AND SECURITY DURING ONLINE SESSIONS

The information you provide to us online is protected by Secure Socket Layer (SSL technology). SSL technology is the industry- standard security protocol for data transfer on the Internet. SSL technology scrambles your information as it moves between your PC's browser and First Command's computer systems. When information is scrambled or encrypted in this way, it helps protect the safety and confidentiality of your information when you interact with us online.

E-MAIL SAFETY

To safeguard your email communications with us, we have implemented an encryption system. Any email communication that is sent to you which contains your sensitive personal information (i.e., your name in combination with your social security number, account number, driver’s license number, or similar information that can be used for identity theft purposes) will be sent through CommandCenter, OnCommand, our secure email vendor, or other encryption tool. Email is generally not a secure method of sending your sensitive personal information unless it is encrypted, and we advise clients that they should never send or reply to any emails containing their sensitive personal information without encryption protection.

VERIFICATION OF TRANSACTION REQUESTS

It is important that you do not use email, text or voicemail to request, authorize or effect the purchase or sale of any security or product, or send fund transfer instructions, or any other time sensitive transactions. Any such requests, orders, or instructions that you send will not be accepted and will not be processed. This procedure is in place for your protection as it allows us to verify your identity and your intentions before we take actions impacting your assets and/or insurance policies.

For more detailed information on First Command’s information security practices and procedures, view our Online Security Notice and Privacy Notice.

Despite all of our efforts to protect our clients, we fully understand that information security is a never-ending battle. As technology evolves, regulations are updated and identity thieves and cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated, it is essential that we keep pace. And we’re going to need your help. So please take a moment to review these useful tips for safeguarding your financial and personal information:

  • Store personal information in a safe place. Tear up or shred old receipts and account statements before throwing them away.
  • Change all passwords regularly. Use a mix of numbers and letters – never use common words or phrases. Your password is more secure and harder for criminals to guess if you include a special character, like an asterisk or an exclamation point. 
  • Protect your PINs and other passwords. Do not share your passwords or pins with anyone. Make sure your password is unique and difficult to guess.
  • Maintain appropriate security on your computers and other electronic devices. Make sure you secure your wireless network and protect your computers and electronic devices from viruses and spyware. Most major software companies regularly release updates or patches to their operating systems to repair security problems. You should keep your system and applications updated with the latest patches and releases. Installing a firewall is recommended. 
  • Remember to protect your information when disposing of computers and other electronic devices. Your computers and other electronic devices may have a lot of sensitive information on them. It could be financial information like your account numbers or tax returns, or it could be personal information like email messages, text messages, voice mail or photos. When disposing of your old devices, it’s important to take steps to help ensure this information doesn’t end up in the hands of an identity thief.
  • Log out of websites. After you sign into a website, remember to sign out of all of our online accounts. Unpair your computer from Bluetooth devices, like a mouse, keyboard or wireless display.
  • Avoiding using public wireless networks and public computers. Many cell phone carriers offer "data tethering." Consider using your cell phone's ability to access the web with your laptop or tablet instead.
  • Download cautiously. If you visit a website that looks questionable, leave. Some free games and free downloads are really tricks to download viruses or spyware on to your device.
  • Watch out for “phishing attacks.” If you receive an email that looks suspicious, don’t click or open anything. Simply delete it from your inbox. 
  • Be wary of advertisements, emails and spam phone calls: You may receive what seem like great deals or limited-time offers that require you to act fast, but you should verify they are legitimate before clicking or sharing any personal information. If you don’t know the company or sender of an email or who’s calling on the phone, that can be a red flag. Look up the information online and make sure you only go to sites that are “https” — with the “s” representing secure.  Avoid financial transactions on “http” sites.
  • Carry only the minimum amount of personal information you require.
  • Pay attention to billing cycles and statements. Inquire if you do not receive a bill. 
  • Check account statements carefully to ensure all charges, checks or withdrawals are authorized. 
  • Guard your mail from theft. Do not leave bill payment envelopes in your mailbox with the flag up. Instead, deposit them in a post office collection box or at the local post office. Promptly remove incoming mail. It is recommended to sign up with the USPS Informed Delivery service which provides daily emails of what is to arrive at your mailbox that day. See the following link for more information: Informed Delivery Sign Up Guide Jan 2020.pdf (usps.com).
  • Consider purchasing credit monitoring services or identity theft protection. These tools can help you check your credit score and reports regularly and alert you about changes and concerns. They will flag activity such as applications for credit in your name, credit limit increases or additions of authorized users on your account. Some service may also offer public record searches and scans of chat rooms and black-market websites for your personal information. 
  • Order copies of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once a year to ensure they are accurate. 

For more on how to protect your identity, check out these tips from the Federal Trade Commission and the IRS. And if you believe you are a victim of identity theft, take immediate action and keep records of your conversations and correspondence. While the steps you must take will vary with your individual circumstances, four basic actions are appropriate in almost every case: 

1. Contact the fraud departments of any one of the three major credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit file: 

2. Contact the creditors for any accounts that have been tampered with or opened fraudulently.  

3. File a report with your local police, or the police in the community where the identity theft took place, and get a copy of the police report. 

4. File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Complaints can be filed by phone, 1-877-IDTHEFT, or through the FTC’s identity theft Web site.

To help clients avoid fraud and identity theft, as well as to easily monitor their personal credit scores, First Command Bank offers Your Credit Score, a free online banking dashboard feature that allows them to:

  • Grade their credit standing
  • Alerts them to credit score changes
  • Offers recommendations to increase their score
  • Provides unlimited access to their credit report
  • Offers 24-month trend analysis to track progress
  • Compares credit scores to others in their zip code
  • Keeps their data secure and private


ADDITIONAL ARTICLES OF INTEREST ON THIS TOPIC:

Preventing Fraud as a Veteran or Military Member

Military Money Scams: Are You at Risk?

You’ve Been Hacked. Now What?

Share This Story

Get Squared Away®

Let’s start with your financial plan.

Answer just a few simple questions and — If we determine that you can benefit from working with us — we’ll put you in touch with a First Command Advisor to create your personalized financial plan. There’s no obligation, and no cost for active duty military service members and their immediate families.

GET STARTED