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How To Keep Your Financial Information Safe Online 

Updated: Feb 17


Today's online culture of banking, blogging, social networking and shopping makes it easier than ever for those with intentions to steal your personal information. Social Security numbers, credit cards, and online passwords are all at risk if you don't keep your personal information secure both online and offline. Yahoo reported that more than 1.2 billion accounts were hacked in 2019. Those email accounts contained personal details, email exchanges, and financial information – and people were not aware of the issue for years.


Information security is a serious business. Identity theft happens regularly and it is likely to increase in the coming years, this number could climb significantly as customers are increasingly migrating to the digital medium. So, what can you do to keep your financial information secure online? 


Follow these basic steps to keep your financial information secure: 


Shop only from trusted websites, how to check if a website is trustworthy?

Ecommerce has become the most popular way to shop, so knowing how to stay safe whilst making purchases on the Internet has never been more important. An SSL Certificate is also a good indicator of trust and legitimacy on a website.


There are two easy methods of determining whether a website has SSL certification. Firstly, an icon of a locked padlock should be present in the URL bar at the top of your web browser. Another method of identifying a website with an SSL Certification is the domain name:


Secure websites begin with: https://

Unsecured websites begin with: http://


Look for the HTTPS address bar, you at least know the website you are visiting is a real one.


Avoid using public Wi-Fi

If you are browsing the web using an unsecured Internet connection, such as a free Wi-Fi hotspot in a public place, then try to avoid making any online purchases. Public Wi-Fi is more vulnerable to attack by hackers or malicious software and could put you at an increased risk of fraud. 


Create strong passwords 

A strong password can be memorable to you but nearly impossible for someone else to guess. Create your password using 8 characters or more. It can be any combination of letters, numbers, and symbols (ASCII-standard characters only). 


Don't use a password that is particularly weak, Example: "password123"

 

Check statements regularly

Don't wait for your bill to come at the end of the month. Go online regularly during the holiday season and look at electronic statements for your credit card, debit card, and checking accounts. You should definitely only buy online with a credit card. If your debit card is compromised, scammers have direct access to your bank funds. If you see something wrong, pick up the phone to address the matter quickly. In the case of credit cards, pay the bill only when you know all your charges are accurate. You have 30 days to notify the bank or card issuer of problems, however; after that, you might be liable for the charges anyway.


Skip the card, use the phone

Paying for items using your smartphone is pretty standard these days in brick-and-mortar stores, and is actually even more secure than using your credit card. Using a mobile payment app like Apple Pay generates a one-use authentication code for the purchase that no one else could ever steal and use. 


Do not write down your login credentials

Your bank must have already highlighted you the importance of not storing, writing or recording your login credentials anywhere where it can be seen. Despite the efforts to create awareness, a majority of online banking users still store their login credentials in writing, and often in plain sight. If you really want to write it down anywhere, make sure it is written as a code that can help you memorize it, but, would be unguessable by someone else.


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