Online Banking Security

How Alterna Bank protects you

We are committed to providing safe and secure banking experiences for our members. We continuously review our online security technology and processes to protect your personal and transactional information and provide secure online access to your accounts. While using our Online Banking site, the integrity of your account information is guaranteed. Security controls that we use across our online infrastructure include:

  • Multiple layers of security protecting networks and servers
    • Secure Socket Layer (SSL) Encryption   that establishes a secure connection between your computer and our web servers.
    • Digital certificates issued by trusted third parties to assure you that the site is protected.
    • Firewalls that block unauthorized access to our networks and servers
    • Intrusion detection and prevention that identifies any attempts to gain access to our networks and servers
    • Anti-virus protection that is continually updated to prevent viruses and  malware from entering our technology infrastructure
    • Anti-hacking  protection that scans for  hacking or diversionary code on our websites
    • Monitoring and taking action against malicious sites designed to look like Alterna Savings or Alterna Bank sites
  • Policies and standards that comply with regulatory and industry best practices 
  • Regular reviews of our security practices and technology updates.
  • Dedicated IT Security team

How to ensure your online safety

The Internet has changed the way financial institutions do business. Online banking provides convenient access to your financial information and the ability to perform transactions from almost anywhere: home, work or while traveling. Alterna recognizes that this is a great convenience to our members and we want to make the experience as easy and as safe as possible. While Alterna is doing our part to secure our end of your banking needs, we’re not able to control what is happening on your end of the transaction. Therefore each member has responsibilities associated with taking reasonable steps to ensure the security of your banking experience. An inadequately protected computer can be accessed by an unknown party or a virus in a very short period of time.

Banking Online

When banking online:

  1. We recommend you close your browser and restart it before proceeding to Alterna’s Online Banking site
  2. Check the address of any pages that ask for personal account information. Does the address begin with "https" or "http"? Any pages of a legitimate Internet banking website that ask members to enter account information will have “https” in the address and this indicates that the page is secure. 
  3. Look for, and click on, the padlock found in the address line or bottom right hand corner of most browser screens. If the page is truly legitimate, by clicking on the padlock you can view a page which lists the security certificate details for the site. A fraudulent site will not provide such details. 
  4. Never disclose your passwords and/or PIN. You should be the only person that knows this password/PIN. 
  5. Make it difficult for others to guess your password, by using a combination of letters and numbers in your password. 
  6. Always ensure that you are transacting on Alterna’s server by typing in Alterna’s web address yourself. www.alterna.ca, www.alternasavings.ca or www.alternabank.ca
  7. Do not leave your computer logged in to online banking. Always exit the Online Banking site using the logout button and close your browser if you step away from your computer. (Your browser may retain information you entered in the login screen and elsewhere until you exit the browser.) 
  8. Prevent the browser from caching (storing) the pages that you view by using the enhanced security feature located on the login screen. We strongly recommend that you use this feature if you are accessing the Online Banking site from a shared computer, such as at a friend's house or through a publicly-accessible computer, such as at a library or airport.

Requests for Information

Alterna Savings will never ask you to provide personal, login, or account information through unsolicited email or telephone calls Ignore or report any emails asking for this type of information. These types of requests are known as “phishing” and are a fraudulent attempt to gain personal and account information. If you are unsure of the authenticity of an email, delete it and call your branch to find out if an email was indeed distributed.

If you are contacted by anyone purporting to be an Alterna employee looking to obtain or confirm personal information, please call our TeleService Centre immediately at 1.877.560.0100.

Identity Theft

Fraudsters are constantly coming up with new ways to carry out identity theft. Identity theft can be the result of any number of actions. Some common methods include but are not limited to:

  1. Fraudulent telephone calls, letters or emails that ask for your personal banking information
  2. Theft of your purse, wallet, mail or any other personal information stolen 
  3. Rifling through your garbage 
  4. Posing as a landlord, potential employer, etc… 
  5. Social networking, as these sites enable criminals to identify personal information that can be used for fraud or identity theft.  Be cautious when using these sites.

Check out the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre for more information on Identity Theft at http://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/

You can help protect yourself from identity theft by educating yourself on how it occurs, and taking appropriate action to reduce your chances of becoming a target.

  1. Sign credit cards when they arrive 
  2. Safely discard all personal materials. Consider purchasing a personal shredder for home use (a cross-cut shredder is most effective).
  3. Review your Alterna statements and credit card statements when they arrive.  Advise Alterna or the credit card company of any discrepancies immediately.
  4. Practice safe banking online. Protect your computer with a firewall and anti-virus software. 
  5. Memorize your PIN. Do not write it down or disclose it to anyone. 
  6. Never provide financial information such as personal passwords by phone or email. 
  7. Perform an annual credit check. An annual credit check is available free from the credit bureau, or through Equifax (www.econsumer.equifax.ca) or TransUnion (www.tuc.ca). 
  8. Report any theft of personal information to your local police, Alterna, the credit bureau and any service providers that you use.

Protect your computer

Alterna has provided a secure channel for our members to communicate with us. Once the information has reached your computer, it's up to you to protect it. To protect your information, you should:

  1. Never leave your computer unattended while using our online banking services. 
  2. Secure or erase files stored on your computer by your browser so others cannot read them. Most browsers store information in the browser's cache to improve performance. These files remain there until erased. They can be erased using standard computer utilities or by using your browser feature to "empty" the cache.
  3. Disable automatic password-save features in the browsers and software you use to access the Internet. 
  4. Be careful when downloading software, especially free downloads as these can also contain malware that monitor your internet activity and capture everything you type on to your computer and send it to a collection site 
  5. Install and use a quality anti-virus program. As new viruses are created each and every day, be sure to update your anti-virus program often. Scan all download files, programs, disks and attachments and only accept files and programs from a trusted source. 
  6. Install and use a personal firewall on your computer to ensure others cannot access your computer through the Internet. 
  7. Ensure that you apply any security updates for your operating system and applications  
  8. Install an anti-spyware program and check your computer regularly.
  9. If you are accessing online banking from a work computer, check with your employer that safeguards are in place.