6 Ways to Protect Your Privacy Online and Secure Your Financial Data
It seems like every month there’s news of a new data breach. The risk of identity theft and fraud are high. So what can you do to protect your privacy online and secure your financial data? Here are six tips for more personal information security.
1. Create a stronger password
Think about how many passwords you use each and every day. It can be a lot and so it makes sense that you want something that is easy to remember. But making your password too easy can make you vulnerable to hackers and fraudsters. Here are some rules for creating your password:
Don’t include any personal information such as birthdate, pet name, etc. Some of this info is easy to find on social media.
Include lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers and characters.
Don’t use the same password everywhere.
2. Sign-up for two-factor authentication
If you want to protect your privacy online, you want to put barriers in place between your information and potential hackers and fraudsters. One way to do that is to sign-up for two-factor authentication.
If you sign-up for two-factor authentication with your email or bank, you typically will get a text alert with a code that you have to input before you access your secure data.
Since your phone is likely always on you, only you have access to that code to unlock the site. If someone does try to hack into your account, you may get a text alert. If it wasn’t you trying to access your accounts, you’ll know there is a hacker or fraudster trying to access your information.
Signing-up for two-factor authentication with all of your accounts that offer it is a good way to put a barrier between your information and fraudsters. This is one easy way to boost your personal information security.
3. Be mindful of giving out your financial data
Amazon. Postmates. Uber. There are so many apps that make our lives easier. But with all of these apps and websites and convenience, we give out our credit card information like it’s no big deal. And let’s face it, these apps make it easier to spend too.
Be more mindful and only give out your credit card information for a site that you use often. You want to limit how many websites and apps have your financial data. So when websites ask if you want to save your credit card info, say no.
You might want to give out your credit card information rather than your debit card info for these sites. If fraudsters were to get your debit card info, they could drain your account and it could be harder to get your money back. Many credit card companies have fraud departments that can act fast.
4. Sign-up for alerts
In order to protect your privacy online and boost your personal information security, you want to sign-up for security alerts. Sign-up for security alerts with your bank and credit card company. Sign-up for credit monitoring through a site like Credit Karma.
They will notify you if there’s a new credit account that is opened. If that wasn’t you, you can act fast to combat fraud.
5. Be vigilant with potential scams
Phishing emails are rampant. Fraudsters claim to be a company and say they need your login info. Before responding to any email asking for your personal information, look at the email sender’s address.
Typically, it’s not a .com of the company they’re claiming to be. So for example, if you got an email from PayPal, the ending of the email address would be PayPal.com. If it’s a phishing email, it won’t have that domain, so you can recognize it’s a scam.
Sometimes these phishing emails have stolen the logo and have very convincing language. But check the email address first! Always practice being vigilant with emails asking for personal info. If in doubt, don’t respond.
6. Avoid TMI
TMI isn’t just about oversharing gross info or overtly personal and salacious details. You don’t want to TMI all over social media, sharing all of your info. When you share a lot of personal details about your location, work, birthdate and other identifiable information it puts you at greater risk.
Avoid TMI on social media and make sure your privacy settings are strong, so only friends can see what you’re up to.
In today’s world, we’re all at risk of fraud and identity theft. In order to secure your financial data and have greater personal information security, use these six tips. To ensure you stay proactive, consider checking your financial accounts daily, just for 2 minutes while sipping coffee to make sure nothing looks suspicious. Taking these steps can help you protect your privacy online and help secure your financial data and limit exposure.
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