7 Steps for You to Protect Your Online Information
Most people conduct personal business online. We login to various accounts and expect our information to be secure. Yet most of us do not change our passwords regularly or we use simple passwords to login to important information, like banks, investments and retirement funds.
According to a new report by Experian, The 2018 Global Fraud and Identity Report, 66% of consumers said, “I like all the security protocols when I interact online because it makes me feel protected.” In this study, researchers surveyed 5,000 businesses and 550 individuals. Overwhelmingly, businesses said the burden of fraud risk mitigation would be reduced if they were certain about the identity of a customer (84%). Today, more than 50% of respondents said passwords are the top way to authenticate identities, followed by security questions and one-time passcodes.
While we should expect security measures to improve from the businesses we interact with online, we, as consumers, need to be proactive as well.
1. Change your password periodically. When asked to change your password by a company, protect yourself and change the password.
2. Answer security questions. We’re all busy, but this is another important step to protect information from hackers.
3. Create strong passwords with symbols. Even a simple word can be used if you put different symbols between each letter or a simple word using numbers in place of letters. Don’t use common phrases, names, etc. in passwords, e.g. Fred123.
4. Write down your password in a secure place. It’s hard to remember all of your passwords, especially for accounts you don’t access too often. Apps like the Keeper app can help.
5. Check your credit card and bank statements a few times per month. Download your banks’ apps on your smartphone and also setup email alerts under your online bank account settings. If you have a security breach, money or credit can be stolen quickly. Reach out to the business immediately if you suspect any fraudulent activity and the account.
6. Type your password each time you access an account. Not only will it help you to remember the password, but auto-fill saved on your computer is another opportunity for identity theft.
7. Be vigilant. If your information is stolen, the ramifications may go way beyond your information with one business.