In light of the recent uptick in cyber-attacks and online scams, now is a great time to revisit ways to protect your personal information online. It’s hard to believe that with all the steps we’re already taking to protect our information, thieves still find ways to get it. Here are some simple things you may not be doing that can help protect your accounts and valuable information.
Have clever answers to your security questions
Security questions usually aren’t programmed to determine whether the information you’re entering is true or false, only that it matches your initial response when setting up your account. Random responses protect you from others who might easily guess your answer. Switching up answers to your security questions periodically can add extra protection.
Don’t overshare on social media
Thieves can use what you disclose on social media to hack into your bank account or open new accounts in your name. Don’t just accept a social media site’s default security setting—check to see who you’re agreeing to share your personal life with and change any settings you’re uncomfortable with.
Use 20+ characters for passwords
Complexity is a good practice when creating passwords, but lengthening your password to 20+ characters can be effective added protection. The longer the password is, the more difficult it will be to simply guess, and the more difficult it will be for cyber criminals to crack.
Delete Before Disposing
Completely wipe your device before you get rid of it. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for permanently deleting information or contact technical support to be sure your device has been cleaned before disposal. If your device was damaged, contact the manufacturer for further instructions to make sure your information isn’t going to be retrievable.
Don’t Share Passwords and Usernames
It is important not to share usernames and passwords. No credit union employee nor credit card company, creditor and government rep would ask for this information. If you’re ever prompted to share this information, you may be the target of a potential cyber attack or online scam.
For more useful tips, information and advice on financial empowerment, follow us on Facebook at: facebook.com/SignalFinancialFCU. We’re also on Twitter and Instagram at: @signalfcu For additional assistance or if you think you may have been a victim of a possible cyber attack, please visit FTC.gov *Signal Financial Federal Credit Union is not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned or sites that we put a link to in this article.
-Written by James Fleet