13 Ways to Keep Your Online Finances Secure
Nowadays, nearly everything is online. You can communicate with people across the world instantly, buy almost everything with the click of a button, and research just about anything. With our world moving towards all things digital, you probably manage some or all your finances online. Unfortunately, the ease of internet finances doesn’t always benefit you—hackers are getting better and smarter. Fear not—we’ve compiled this list to help you keep your personal information and finances safe.
- Use FDIC -insured accounts
If you’re shopping for a new credit card or bank account, look for FDIC-insurance, meaning the government insures the money up to $250,000 per owner. If you’re online shopping, try using a card that is FDIC-insured. This can give you extra protection and peace of mind knowing that your money is protected against false ads, hackers, and online thieves.
- Look into a security app
There are plenty of security apps for smart phones and computers. These usually protect against viruses and malware, which can be hidden in unfamiliar emails or certain websites. Norton, Avast, and McAfee are well-known mobile security apps and offer free trials.
- Extra fraud protection
Some credit and debit cards have extra fraud protection features such as a money-back guarantee if you become victim to fraud. Ask your bank about these features and the procedures in case you ever become a victim.
- Use strong passwords
Many websites require a strong password but creating one that is difficult to guess is important no matter the policy. Adding special characters, numbers, and a variation of caps and lowercase letters can make it difficult for someone to figure out your password. Make sure you don’t use commonly known facts about yourself such as birthdays, anniversaries, names, etc.
- Sign up for transaction alerts
Many banks offer notifications when a transaction is over a customized amount. They can send you a text, email, or phone call. This can be crucial if someone uses your card while you’re on the go. Even if you made the purchase, you’ll have the security of knowing your bank is on top of your account. You can also check your bank’s mobile app daily on a secured network to ensure all transactions match your spending.
- Check your credit score weekly
Your credit score is an indicator of your finances. If it drops significantly, it may be a sign of identity theft or fraud. Credit Karma, Mint, and even some bank apps allow free credit score reporting. Staying on top of your credit score may also help you create better financial habits.
- Use a shredder
Shred secure documents and old cards. Anything with an account number, bank information, social security, or other personal information should be shredded. Some libraries, UPS stores, and Staples offer low cost or free shredding.
- Use caution with mobile purchases
Because mobile banking and purchasing are relatively new, it’s easier for hackers to take information, especially if you’re using public Wi-Fi. If making a mobile purchase, use caution and only trusted websites. Only make purchases from trusted websites on your mobile device and ensure you’re on a private network.
- Monitor accounts from a private network
When checking on your accounts, make sure you’re using a private server such as your password-protected home Wi-Fi. It’s more difficult for hackers to steal your personal information this way. In the case of a security breach, it’ll be easier to find the problem if you stick to one or two secured, private severs.
- Shop on trusted websites
- Do not open or respond to unknown emails
If you receive an email from an unknown sender or with a strange subject line, delete it. If it’s important, they’ll contact you in other ways. Many hackers are using “spoof” emails to scam money and information out of people.
- Leave your credentials in a secure spot
If you write down your usernames and passwords, make sure it’s in a secure place such as a hidden place in your bedroom or non-web-based application on your computer or phone. Try disguising it. Do not leave it in your purse or pocket.
- Find a trustworthy financial advisor
For your larger finances, find a trustworthy financial advisor. This person will monitor and control large portions of your money. Part of their job is to protect your finances against security breaches. Look for a fiduciary—meaning they legally must put your best interest above their own. For more tips click here for our blog post with questions to ask your potential advisor.
If you’re ready to meet with an advisor, click below to schedule a time to chat so we can help protect your money while allowing growth. Our team offers financial advisors, retirement planners, a tax specialist, an estate planning attorney, and more!
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