Five tips to protect your online financial information

Created date

October 30th, 2019

The internet certainly makes it more convenient to manage your money. You can make a deposit to your checking account without going to the bank, buy and sell stocks with the click of a button, and make purchases or pay bills right from your phone. Even if you’re comfortable using technology, you may wonder if it’s really safe to bank, shop, and invest online. Fortunately, there are many safeguards that will help you keep your money and your identity safe while you enjoy the convenience of online money management. 

Here are five things you can do to protect your financial information on the internet:

1. Use a password manager: Logging into your online accounts with a complex and unique password is one of the best ways to safeguard your money. But remembering all of the clever passwords you created is easier said than done. That’s where a password manager can come in handy. These highly encrypted “digital vaults” can be used to store all of your passwords, PINs, credit card information, and answers to security questions. That way, you only have to remember one password to get access to all of your accounts. Services such as Dashlane and 1Password are two of the biggest names in the password manager industry.

2. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks: It can be tempting to connect to the Wi-Fi at a coffee shop or airport. But public Wi-Fi networks are fertile ground for hackers. If you’re planning on managing your money, it’s best to wait until you’re at home and have a secure internet connection.

3. Update your devices: We’ve all absentmindedly clicked “remind me tomorrow” when our laptop or tablet prompts us to update the software. But it’s important to stay on top of those updates because they often contain important security updates that can go a long way in keeping your financial information safe. 

4. Be savvy when shopping online: From household goods like paper towels to big-ticket items like jewelry or airplane tickets, you can buy just about anything you could ever want from online retailers. These purchases are safe as long as you take a few simple steps before you click “buy.” First, make sure you’re on the correct website. 

Scammers set up phony sites made to look like retailers’ websites. Some of these fake websites can be pretty convincing, but little details such as ending in .net instead of .com can be telltale signs that something is amiss. Only make purchases from sites that have a secure sockets layer, meaning the URL begins with https instead of http. If you frequently shop on sites like Amazon or Target, it’s best to download the companies’ apps and make purchases within the app rather than on the website.

5. Sign up for an identity theft monitoring service: Even if you take every precaution, there’s always a chance a sophisticated thief or a large data breach will compromise your personal information. Monitoring services such as LifeLock and IdentityForce monitor things like your credit report, credit card activity, and even crimes committed in your name, and send you alerts so you can take immediate action if your personal information has fallen into the wrong hands. 

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