NEWS | Feb. 17, 2016

Protect your financial records

By TSgt. Luis Navarro

Every day, thousands of service members receive fraudulent e-mails from unauthorized sources pretending to be the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) trying to collect your account information. During the tax season, phishing and spam attempts prove to be at their highest. While DFAS (SmartDocs) will do everything in their power to protect your information, you play an important role in keeping your financial information secure from outside sources. Here are a few guidelines to help protect your personal financial information prior to April 15th and beyond:

1. Do not click on any links within an e-mail message; type it directly into your browser to be safe. Many of these links can be harmful and can risk the security of your information.

2. Delete unexpected or unsolicited messages that contain attachments or that request you send back information. Valid SmartDocs messages are always sent in plain text and do not contain any attachments.

3. Do not use a public computer or kiosk to access myPay. This will greatly compromise your login info as it could be stored in the browser for the next user. Connecting to a public wifi network can also jeopardize your information by making it available to other users.

4. If you use your personal computer to access myPay, be sure to keep your operating system up to date with the latest security patches as well as your antivirus and firewall software. Having anti-spyware software can help too. This is essential for keeping your computer secure against malicious software that could potentially compromise your information.

5. Do not e-mail your personal or financial information. E-mail is not a secure method to transmit this information. If you initiate a transaction through a website to update your personal and financial information, look for indicators the site is secure, such as, the image of a lock on the browser's status bar or the site begins with https (the "s" stands for "secure").

6. Limit sharing your Social Security Number (SSN) unless there is a legitimate reason to do so. DFAS will never ask customers to update or validate their information.

7. Do not share your myPay PIN. This may seem obvious; however, there are increasing examples of members providing their myPay PINs to companies so they may download their W-2s during the tax season.

With the ever increasing amount of phishing scams we face each day, it's equally important to increase the protection of your financial information. Following these simple guidelines above will help to ensure your money stays in the right hands--yours!