For those who have had concerns about the Internet and its security, there was recently a very large “I told you so” moment. The resulting aftermath of the Equifax breach has put identity theft and cyber-security at the forefront of our thoughts and minds.
Our upcoming event on November 9th, 2017, will feature an FBI Special Agent in the field of Cyber Crime who will talk to us about online threats and how best to protect yourself and your finances online. If you are interested in attending the event, please call us at 610-695-8070.
Below are a few tips and tricks to start better protecting yourself and your finances on the internet:
Two-Factor Authentication – This option sends you a one-time code (usually via text message) every time you or someone else tries to log into your account. You’ll need to type in that code to access your account. It is not yet widely available, but if it is, ask for it.
Use at Least 5 Different Passwords – If your password gets compromised on one site, a criminal may try to use it on another site. To make it easier, create a password for groups of websites. For example, you may have a separate password for financial sites, one for banks, one for social media, and another one for shopping sites.
Use Strong Passwords - The longer the better. It is best to choose passwords at least 6 to 8 characters in length that include numbers, characters, capital and lowercase letters, and even special characters like #,$,% if the site permits them. Some people like to use mnemonics. For example, choose the first letter from each of the words in your favorite phrase. Using the phrase “To Be or Not To Be” yields the password TBONTB. Make it even stronger by adding numbers or special characters.
Clear Out Your Internet Browser Files - Delete your browser’s cache, history, and cookies on a regular basis. To do so in Internet Explorer, go to Tools and choose “Internet Options” and on the “General” tab click “Delete” under the Browsing History section. There you can check “Temporary Internet files, Cookies, History,” etc. Clearing your internet browser files will prevent other users from having access to your login credentials or other sensitive information.
Beware of Email Messages Asking for Confirmation – Be cautious of email messages from the companies asking you to confirm account numbers, Social Security numbers, login IDs, or passwords. Reputable companies do not ask for this information.
Credit Monitoring Services - We wrote about credit monitoring services in a prior blog. These services are a cost-efficient way to monitor your credit report on all 3 of the credit reporting services. Lifelock and American Express’s Credit Secure are examples of the services in the credit monitoring market. You can also go to www.annualcreditreport.com for your free report from each of the 3 credit reporting agencies once per year.
Nothing is 100% fool-proof, but following these steps will go a long way to protecting your identity and your wealth.