Living in a digital age means that most of the time, life is more convenient. Despite the ease, many don’t consider how the rise in digitization has, in some ways, compromised financial security.
Kathrynn Cavanaugh with The First State Bank in Oklahoma City offers a few easy-to-utilize tips to keep your money secure.
“Always shop or make purchases from a trusted and verified source,” she says. “Beware of phishing scams, like texts on your phone with links, even if they look legitimate. And shop in stores that have chip readers.”
According to Cavanaugh, checking to see if a website is reputable is quick and easy.
“You can look for a ‘lock’ in the upper left-hand corner of the URL to show that the website is securely encrypted,” she says. “Use a credit card to make online purchases so that it is not tied to liquid funds, in the event that fraud does happen. Always keep your bank account numbers, checkbooks, etc. in a secure location that only the account holder has access to.”
When asked if it’s safe to store info like passwords, card information and contact information on web browsers, Cavanaugh says yes to Google Chrome or Apple Pay.
“These technologies use biometric verification, such as a fingerprint, when using on your phone,” she says. “You can also visit the privacy settings of your preferred web browser to see or reset any tracking information and limit what information you share.”
Many websites share tips on how to keep your financial information secure, including the following from nerdwallet.com:
No. 1 could be the simplest but possibly the most important: Safeguard your Social Security number.
Still receiving statements in the mail? Shred anything that has account information on it before you throw it in the trash. After all, stolen mail is a great way for someone to access valuable information. Have your mail held at the post office if you’re going to be away from home for an extended period. In fact, many aren’t aware of a service offered by the post office in which you can receive an email every day that mail is delivered and what to expect in your mailbox. Check it out at usps.org.
When you receive a financial statement, look over every transaction and ensure it was made by you or someone in your household.
There are three major credit bureaus: TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Check your credit reports with them on a regular basis to watch for signs of fraudulent actions. Have accounts in deferment or forbearance? These will show up on your credit report as well and can be monitored for accuracy.
Take advantage of the alerts offered by your bank or other financial institution. Account holders can sign up to receive texts or emails when credit cards are used or when a deposit or withdrawal is made.
“And don’t post sensitive information on social media,” says Cavanaugh.