How to Protect Your Personal and Financial Information
For most of us, identify theft isn’t at the top of our minds, but it’s something that can happen to anyone. And if it does, it can really destroy your finances. When your personal information, such as a social security number or a bank account number, gets in the wrong hands, it can take years to reverse the damage done.
Sadly, identify theft affects roughly 15 million people each year. In an age when we do almost everything online, our personal information is all too vulnerable. It’s becoming more and more important to keep it secure.
Use these tips to help you protect your personal and financial information from being stolen.
Guard Your Phone and Personal Devices
Many of us treat our phones like a lifeline. While it’s a great modern convenience, it can also be a gateway to identify theft. We store and link many of our important accounts to our personal devices. With your phone, someone could access your email, or your bank information, and gain tons of personal data.
Make sure you guard your phone and personal devices like your life depends on it. Be sure to keep a passcode on it and change it frequently. If you lose your phone, be extra cautious and change the passwords on any accounts linked to your devices.
Keep Important Documents Secure
Though you may spend most of your time on your phone or computer, don’t forget about physical documents, too. You probably have bits and pieces of paper lying around that carry very important personal information.
Make sure you secure these documents. Keep them in a locked filing cabinet or a safe in an area of your home that is not easily accessible.
Only Shop on Sites You Trust
I do most of my shopping online but I’m extra careful about which sites I frequent. We’ve all heard horror stories of security breaches where hackers gained tens of thousands of credit card numbers and account information.
These breaches happened at big name retailers so you’re never really safe. But you can lessen your chances of having your information stolen by shopping on trusted websites only. Look for websites that are listed as “secure” at checkout.
Change Your Passwords Regularly
When thinking about the security of personal information, don’t forget about passwords. A password can provide all access to an online account so it’s crucial that you keep it to yourself. Never share your password, even with friends.
When setting your password, make it a little bit more complex by adding capital letters or numbers. Use a password generator, or an app like 1Password, to safeguard your password even more. Just make sure you remember it. Lastly, change your password regularly. You don’t always notice a breach on your account immediately.
Having your personal information stolen can be a nightmare that takes years to wake up from. Don’t let it happen to you. Practicing these tips can help you protect you and your family’s financial well-being.