In contemporary society, normally, you would need to provide some sensitive and personal information to a company or government agency in order to make basic financial transactions and decisions. This will include having a personal bank account, a retirement account or even obtaining a loan. However, this also comes with the potential risk of having your personal financial data compromised in some unforeseen way which can have serious consequences.
Therefore, it is a good idea to take whatever actions are available to you in order to protect your personal financial details. The following are some tips to help keep your personal information from being compromised.
Review financial statements
As soon as you receive your financial statements from your bank or credit card company in the mail or via email, make sure to look them over immediately. Look for any suspicious transactions that you do not recognize. The sooner you discover an issue with compromised accounts the less negative consequences you will experience.
Keep your contact information updated
You will want to make sure to keep your financial institutions updated with your latest mailing and email address. In this way your financial statements do not end up being sent to the wrong person.
Keep important documents secured
Financial documents should always be kept in a secure manner with protections against theft, ransomware, viruses, or technological malfunctions.
Be wary of phishing scams
The development of the internet has created great opportunities for society; however, it has also spawned new avenues for scammers and fraudulent activity. Scammers will often engage in what is known as “phishing” which is sending fraudulent emails which try to entice you to click on a link which results in your personal data being stolen from your computer or email account.
These misleading messages which may pretend to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Amazon or some other entity you may have an account or relationship with. However, the scam emails can come in many different varieties, therefore always be careful. Some will ask for passwords to accounts while others will try to convince you to provide your credit card number.
One option is to look up where the email is supposedly coming from and call that organization directly to verify the email is legitimate. Frequently you can tell just by the email address that it is a scam. For example, you can rest assured that the IRS or Amazon is not sending you an email from a yahoo.com email address.
Utilize multi-factor authentication (MFA)
When setting up your account with any financial institution, check to see if you are able to enable multi-factor authentication which will require an additional way to verify your identity when logging into your account. This additional verification method can include email, text message or even fingerprint. Some financial institutions already require using MFA for account access. Of course, you should always have a strong password that is not obvious or utilized for too many other accounts.
Protect your personal wealth as well
Although it is obviously important to protect your confidential financial information, this may not do much good if there is no wealth to protect. This is why it is also important to develop a personal financial plan which provides guidance for reaching your financial, investment and retirement goals.