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Citizens Bank supports National Cyber Security Awareness Month with tips for protecting information on mobile devices

As more consumers do their banking on smartphones, Citizens Bank suggests mobile security guidance as part of its Citizens Helping Citizens Teach Money Management program

Providence, RI - (October 18, 2013) – In recognition of National Cyber Security Awareness Month and with more and more consumers doing their banking and other business on web-enabled mobile devices, Citizens Bank is encouraging its customers to protect their information on mobile devices as carefully as they do on computers.

According to a 2013 report by the Federal Reserve, 87 percent of the U.S. population now has a mobile phone and 52 percent have smartphones. Of those mobile phone users, 28 percent have used their phones to perform banking transactions in the past 12 months. According to the American Bankers Association, the number of attacks on mobile devices also is growing.

“Mobile devices are making everyday tasks like banking simpler and easier, and this rise in popularity is making the mobile space more attractive to cyber-criminals,” said Jerry Sargent, President, Citizens Bank and RBS Citizens, Massachusetts. “The precautions that consumers are accustomed to taking on their computers also should be applied to mobile devices. Any device used to connect to the Internet is potentially at risk, so we urge users to follow these basic safety measures to keep their information safe.”

Consumers can protect the data on their mobile devices by following American Bankers Association guidance like:

  • Use the passcode lock on your smartphone and other devices. This will make it more difficult for thieves to access your information if your device is lost or stolen.
  • Log out completely when you finish a mobile banking session.
  • Protect your phone from viruses and malicious software, or malware, just like you do for your computer by installing mobile security software.
  • Use caution when downloading apps. Only download apps from the official stores - App StoreSM and Google PlayTM Store. Third party stores may make it possible for malicious software, worms and viruses to be downloaded. And, beware of apps that ask for unnecessary “permissions.”
  • Download the updates for your phone and mobile apps as soon as they become available. You may also enable automatic app updates on your device to ensure timely acceptance.
  • Avoid storing sensitive information like passwords or a social security number on your mobile device.
  • Be aware of shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings especially when you’re entering sensitive information.
  • Wipe your mobile device before you donate, sell or trade it using specialized software or using the manufacturer’s recommended technique. Some software allows you to wipe your device remotely if it is lost or stolen .
  • Report any suspected fraud to your bank immediately.

These tips are offered as part of the bank’s Citizens Helping Citizens Teach Money Management program, which includes financial support for local nonprofits focused on financial education and also the bank’s effort to educate customers and communities directly through financial tips shared online, in branches and in social media. Earlier this year, the bank pledged a commitment of $2 million in 2013 grants supporting financial education.

The mobile-information safety guidance comes as Citizens Bank’s own Mobile Banking service is being used by more and more of its customers. The Citizens Bank apps for Android and iPhone are generating the most-positive customer feedback in the industry, according to a report issued by Xtreme Labs. Xtreme Labs’ review of comments found that comments for Citizens Bank’s Android app were 97% favorable, while comments for the bank’s iPhone app were 93% favorable. A December 2012 Javelin Strategy & Research report also ranked Citizens Bank #1 for mobile-banking customer satisfaction.

About Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank is a division of RBS Citizens, N.A., operating its seven-state branch network in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont. It has 47 branches and 127 ATMs in Connecticut. It has 24 branches and 52 ATMs in Delaware. It has 252 branches and 753 ATMs in Massachusetts. It has 80 branches and 204 ATMs in New Hampshire. It has 156 branches and 379 ATMs in New York. It has 82 branches and 192 ATMs in Rhode Island. It has 21 branches and 43 ATMs in Vermont.

RBS Citizens, N.A., is a subsidiary of RBS Citizens Financial Group, Inc., a $118 billion commercial bank holding company. It is headquartered in Providence, R.I., and through its subsidiaries has approximately 1,400 branches, nearly 3,600 ATMs and nearly 19,000 colleagues. Its two bank subsidiaries are RBS Citizens, N.A., and Citizens Bank of Pennsylvania. They operate a 12-state branch network under the Citizens Bank brand in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Charter One brand in Illinois, Michigan and Ohio. RBSCFG has non-branch retail and commercial offices in more than 30 states. RBSCFG is owned by RBS (the Royal Bank of Scotland Group plc). RBSCFG’s website is citizensbank.com.



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