For the past few months I have notice identity theft, online hacking and scams have been popular news topics. Technology may have increased our efficiency and ability to invest and grow our finances but it is not 100% safe especially if you are not careful and consider your financial security. Every one of us wants our finances secured and not just from inflation or economic instability but from malicious individuals and systems that can take our hard-earned money in a blink of an eye. Spammers, thieves and online hackers are blooming like mushrooms and they can’t wait to abuse and steal from unsuspecting individuals.
So how secure are your finances?
Knowing how to protect yourself and your information is not only necessary to secure your finances but also to avoid fraud and give you the safety you deserve when doing transactions. Here are useful tips that can help you secure your financial information:
- Passwords and Pins that are hard to crack.
Often the first defense against invasion of your data, passwords and pins can protect your accounts and authenticate the user if their done right. How easy do you think your current ones can be cracked? As much as you need to create a password that can be easily remembered, you must take necessary steps to make it difficult to figure out. It would be smart to avoid using personal information, family, friends, dictionary words or proper nouns and repeating the same word or phrase on different accounts.. Also the more character variations you use and the longer your passwords are, the harder it is to crack them. If you must write it down, then do it with pen and paper rather than putting it on your hard drive or mobile phones. Consider putting your passwords on a removable device like a flash drive or disk in case you forget.
- Securing your Home PCs and phones.A lot of transactions can now be done online at the comforts of your home or almost anywhere where internet access is available. This also means that you are using your home computer and other mobile gadgets to log into to your financial accounts. Start by selecting a secure and less vulnerable operating system and web browser. Ensure that you set up a personal firewall and install a reliable and up-to-date software security package. You have to update the software regularly so set you gadgets to receive notifications is a new version is available. Only use trusted sources when accessing or downloading data as well as secure networks. On top of that you have to physically protect your computer or mobile device in case it falls into the wrong hands. Try using encryption software or as simple as putting a password or pin lock on the device.
- Take time to check your financial statements.Don’t just file your credit card or any financial statements once you receive them. Even though if the total amount is similar to what you expect your statement should be, never hesitate to check. Take the time to sit down and go through them. Review each line item and you have to make sure that they coincide with your purchases and that you recognize them. Try to reconcile the transactions with your receipts as well. If you see a transaction that you don’t understand nor authorized, call your financial institution right away. Most credit card scams continue to happen until someone checked their statement closely.
Check the credentials and references of financial planners & advisers
Financial planners and advisers are there to help you secure your finances and financial grown long term through Secure Financial Services. There isn’t a great deal of difference to losing money to a bad password and losing money on bad investment advice. You still end up in the same place. However looking for the right one to do avoid all of these things is not as easy as selecting a name on the yellow pages. You have to allot time to do some research and check references if you want to avoid hiring someone who cannot their jobs and even worse cost you your hard earned money through bad decisions.
- Ask them and verify which agency oversees their business or ask for their license.
- It is also important to get references and check those out. Do they have a great client list who raves about their work?
- Did you even take the time to Google their name online (or the name of the financial planning organization they represent)
- The bottom line here is you are going to trust this person with your future and you must never cut corners in picking the one who can secure financial investments for you.
Identity theft and hacking of personal information can happen to anyone. Remember that you must treat your financial information just as you would treat your money and that is never to leave it lying around for anyone else to take. Its not a big job to nor a big investment to secure your finances from any imaginable threat online and offline.
Got a hot tip on preventing getting scammed? Know a good way to make complicated passwords? Leave us a comment and dont forget sharing is caring.
***Photos thanks to Creative Commons.***