By Beau Peters
Special to Financial Independence Hub
How we manage our personal finances has changed over the years, notably the transition to handling more of our financial tasks online. From banking to paying bills to applying for loans to budgeting, all these things are carried out primarily online now.
We love the convenience of doing these things online. However, there’s a greater chance of your financial data being compromised. But if you can adopt these cybersecurity practices, better financial management and security will result.
Educate yourself on Phishing and other Scams
To protect your personal finances from security threats, you must know what they are. Educating yourself on how your financial information could be potentially stolen and used in harmful or criminal activities is essential.
For example, phishing is when a person is contacted by someone that seems legitimate via email, phone, or text message. Because the person seems like they’re a legitimate contact or work for an honest company, people are more inclined to give up the personal information they’re asking for. Phishing scams surged in the wake of COVID-19 due to the urgent need for clarity.
To avoid having your finances compromised in a phishing scam, learn what different phishing communications look like. Look closely at the details and tone of the messages. And trust your gut if you feel like “something is off” with any communications you get.
Educate yourself on these common scams as well:
- Overpayment scams;
- Employment scams;
- Lottery and prize fraud;
- Debt collection scams;
- Family emergency/kidnapping scams.
The more you know about potential security threats to your personal finances, the better.
Use Multi-factor Authentication and Strong Passwords
Multi-factor authentication and strong passwords are a must for every app and online platform you use, especially those on which you manage your personal finances.
As tedious as this is, you need to use a different password for everything. Using the same password for every financial app and platform is dangerous. This is because it only needs to be stolen once, and someone can access everything about you. After creating complicated, different passwords, use a highly regarded password manager if you need help remembering all of them.
Also, enable multi-factor authentication wherever available. A hacker may be able to get past the first security measure. However, it’s unlikely they’ll get through the second one. So, grant yourself this extra level of safety to ensure your finances are as secure as possible.
Choose where you store your Data wisely
We have many options for where we store our data online these days. However, as wonderful as it is to have options, it isn’t wise to blindly choose the first on the list, the free option, or another that’s convenient.
Instead, you should make an informed decision about where you store your financial data. When you educate yourself on your options, you can ensure you’re putting your confidential information in a place with a proven commitment to data safety and security.
For example, many people store financial information in the cloud. Cloud storage systems are incredibly accessible and known for high-quality data security measures. However, there are still potential security risks of cloud storage to be aware of.
Cloud services can be hacked. Customer accounts can be hijacked. Data breaches happen, and unauthorized personnel can be granted access. It’s critical to at least weigh the pros and cons equally for any online data storage system before putting your financial information in it.
If you manage your finances online, you must do everything you can to keep them safe. Start by educating yourself on phishing and other scams. Always use multi-factor authentication and strong, unique passwords. Choose where you store your data wisely to help keep your personal finances safe.
Beau Peters is a creative professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he’s learned a slew of tricks of the trade that he enjoys sharing with others who have the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.