Every day we use the Internet to enhance our lives, but sometimes we forget that the Internet is a bit like the Wild West. There are a lot of bad guys out there, and they’d all love to take a bite out of your financial security using the same tools that you use to simplify it. It’s hard to know exactly where to start for these things, so please use the following tips as a starting place to secure your digital life.
How to Prepare
For all devices (smartphones, desktop computers, laptops or tablets) do the following:
• Change passwords periodically
• Install and keep antivirus and anti-malware software up to date
• Install security updates for all software
• Always use a password, even on mobile devices.
• Be sure all mobile devices have a remote wipe capability in case they are lost or stolen.
• Always require a password to unlock your devices.
• Don’t save passwords using autofill.
• When working at a computer in a public setting, always remember to lock your computer when you’re not using it. When using a Windows based computer use “Windows Logo Key” + L; when using a Macintosh based computer use “Command + Shift + Q.”
How to Protect your Financial Accounts
• Review all of your financial accounts online at least once per week, preferably daily.
• Review and monitor who has access to your financial accounts and personal information.
• Shred all financial documents and any other documents that contain printed personal information before you discard them.
• Never email any personal identifying information such as your social security number or any financial institution account numbers. If you absolutely need to do this, ensure you are sending it through a secure encrypted method.
• Avoid emailing any money movements to your financial advisor. If you must do so, always follow up with a phone call.
•Whenever possible, initiate any money movements yourself through your financial institution’s secure website.
Watch out for Scams
• Be aware of “phishing,” the illegal attempt to mislead consumers into providing personal or financial information, including account numbers, passwords and social security numbers via email or fraudulent websites.
• Beware of “shoulder surfing,” a direct observation technique, such as looking over your shoulder, to get information. It is commonly used to obtain passwords, PINs, security codes and similar data.
• Monitor your credit report on a regular basis.