How to Protect Your Online Financial Data

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With the rising cases of cybercrimes which include data harvesting, you need to be proactive with regards to personal finance by safeguarding your online financial data. Online accounting and payments becoming popular and convenient, they can expose you to cybersecurity threats that could see you lose more than just your money. To avoid this, you need to learn more about cybersecurity so can make informed decisions about securing your financial data online. Below are some of the ways you can protect your online financial data from cybercriminals.

1. Always Update Your Passwords

While it may sound like a no-brainer, updating your passwords regularly is one of cybersecurity best practices. Consider using different passwords for each account so that if one gets compromised, the rest remain secure. You should also keep your passwords to yourself and never share them with anyone.

If you have trouble keeping up with multiple passwords, a password manager can help you save your numerous passwords so you don’t have to remember them all. All you have to do is have one ultimate password for the password manager. Every time you need to log into your online accounts you only input the ultimate password and the password manager does the rest.

2. Utilize Two-Factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication is mostly common with high-value business accounts that require a password, a random code, and a username to access. Fortunately, it is not limited to business accounts and you can use it in your personal finance. Normally, you will need a password and a second proof of identity to access your account such as your phone number.

With a two factor authentication, anyone who tries to hack your account will need to have your phone and be in your immediate location to access the code sent to you. Since it provides extra security, it is ideal for financial transactions online.

3. Monitor Your Accounts Regularly

The first step to monitoring your account is by checking your credit report and making sure it has not been altered. You can do this every four months and report any suspicious activity immediately. Another way to secure your online financial data is by signing up for free credit monitoring services. Credit monitoring allows you to track issues with your credit which include any new credit applications, payments as well as new credit account opening. This way, you can capture any suspicious activity that you didn’t initiate and take necessary action.

4. Keep Your Financial Documents Safe Offline

Keeping your financial documents safe offline also goes a long way in securing your online financial data. This is because cases of fraud, impersonation, and hacking can come from the people around you such as your friends, colleagues, and even family.  Keep your financial documents safely locked away from your friends, family, and colleagues, and always shred any financial documents that may have your information on them. These include receipts, insurance forms, credit applications, and bank statements.

5. Use Security Software

You can add a layer of security to your network by using security software such as a firewall, antivirus, and antispyware. These software protect you against intrusion and viruses from hackers targeting your financial data. You should also ensure that your cybersecurity software are up to date to minimize loopholes that may act as loopholes for criminals.

You can also use VPN to create a connection barrier that prevents hackers from viewing your online activity in case the Wi-Fi you’re using gets hacked. However, you should refrain from using public Wi-Fi when carrying out online financial transactions as they can easily be breached and your financial data compromised.

6. Be Wary of Phishing Emails

 One of the most common ways criminals use to compromise your cybersecurity is through links that you click on. With this in mind, be careful with the attachments or links sent to you via email especially by strangers. By opening unknown attachments or links, you are exposing your computer or system to spyware or viruses that will capture your personal information and passwords.

Always ensure that you only open or download trusted links, attachments, or programs and avoid those from people or organizations you don’t know. Also, make it a habit to contact banks or financial institutions directly and avoid sharing sensitive details with people who pose as representatives.

7. Avoid Oversharing on Social Media

 In the age of social media, you may be tempted to put your personal information out there. While it may help you connect more with your followers, oversharing puts your online financial data at risk. Avoid posting your address, full names, account numbers, or social security number in social media and other public domains. This is because anyone can take advantage and impersonate you using the personal details that you post online. They may also use the information you share to answer security questions related to your accounts and gain access to your online financial data. While the above tips can help protect your online financial data, the digital space continues to evolve and bring with it new cybersecurity. As such, you should keep yourself updated with digital trends in personal finance and learn more about cybersecurity so you can protect yourself better.

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