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Six Steps To Keep Your Financial Information Secure


While technology adds many options for ease of access to funds and other features to make customers’ lives easier, it also creates new opportunities for black hats to get a hold of financial information, or even the finances themselves. Mobile apps, budgeting tools and online payment systems have only added to the potential vectors for theft, as have less-than-secure databases.

Hacking is an ongoing problem. Yahoo! announced late in 2018 that it had several data breaches. Sony had large amounts of data stolen in 2014, including information about an unreleased film, The Interview, that resulted in an international incident with North Korea. And in 2013, Target’s customer information was stolen, costing the company millions. On a consumer level, more than 6.15% of buyers in the U.S. were hit by identity fraud in 2018, according to a 2017 Javelin identity fraud report, resulting in approximately $700 million in losses.

To help combat the dangers, members from the Forbes Finance Council share these safeguards people can take to keep their information and finances secure.

1. Do The Basics

Do the basics, including updating passwords on a regular basis, not leaving your online banking data open in a browser window, and limiting the number of tools and apps you use. All these things can contribute to fewer problems down the line. You can also choose to receive notifications, so you know immediately when something unusual is happening with your money and can take appropriate steps to resolve the matter. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International

2. Use A Password Management Application

Along with powerful new digital financial tools, there are some great security tools, too. Password managers like 1Password help you manage all of your online usernames and passwords, allowing you to create very sophisticated passwords without having to remember all of them. Also, enabling multi-factor authentication protects you in the event that your credentials have been compromised. – Paul Paradis, Sezzle

3. Check Bank Activity Regularly Online

Check bank activity regularly online, update passwords on a regular basis, and utilize end-to-end encryption tools. You can never be too careful! – Ibrahim AlHusseini, The Husseini Group

4. Companies Should Be PCI Level 1 Compliant

While emerging technology is changing financial services in a huge way, it’s important to make sure young Fintech companies that are handling cards or other sensitive financial information are not cutting corners. Good indicators of responsible stewardship include encryption for all transactions and data, PCI Level 1 compliance, SSAE 16 support, two-factor authentication, and strong password policies. – Jeremy Almond, PayStand

5. Watch For Email Phishing And Insecure Databases

Actually, much of the fraud or misuse of financial information does not come from bad passwords. Email is probably your most vulnerable access point. Phishing scams are the most common ways to get in. Second may be new startups and their access to your data on the back end — often the company is well intentioned, but lacks security protocols. – James Murphy, EquityNet

6. Use Multiple Banks And Keep Some Cash

Everyone says you should use password managers, and you should. But, go a step further and use different banks and credit cards, so even if there is a compromise with one, you won’t lose it all. Lastly, it sounds antiquated, but keep some cash with you, at home, and at the office, so you don’t find yourself feeling like a paper millionaire who can’t pay for a taxi to the bank branch. – Atish Davda, EquityZen