The only way to make sure your financial accounts and the personal information associated with them are kept private is to check. By federal law, everyone is entitled to an annual free credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. Use these reports to see whether anyone has opened new accounts under your name.
Most financial firms now offer an optional two-step verification approach to increase your security as you access your account. Two-step verification requires an additional security code along with your standard login. Your bank or email provider sends this new security code to your phone, an alternate email address or a physical code generator to ensure that it’s really you logging into your account.
Don’t click through the email alerts from your financial providers. Instead go directly to your online account to take any necessary action. Emails that look legitimate for your financial institution may easily be phishing emails. The links in these emails can direct you to fraudulent versions of your providers’ websites and collect your personal information or download malicious software onto your computer.
Everyone loves “free wifi,” but unsecured wireless access points, such as those you may use at airports, coffee shops and hotels are easy to intercept. An experienced hacker could collect the information you’re using to log in to your accounts. A safer alternative is purchase a subscription to a paid hotspot provider in which the networks are password protected and often have additional levels of security.
Social media has become a fun and efficient way to keep up with our loved ones, but posting too much personal information online opens you up to identity theft. Pictures from the exclusive resort or international trip you took with the family may highlight you as a target. Personality quizzes, product pages you’ve “liked” and even alumni affinity groups on social sites all provide information that can compromise you. Scammers can use your information to develop a pretty sophisticated profile for social engineering attacks. These attacks send you highly-targeted emails pretending to be from a place you’ve visited or someone close to you, trying to get you to select a link to an infected website.
This gallery is adapted from the authors' recent article, which you can read in full here.
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