In today’s age, you can never be too careful with your information. That goes not only for shoppers, but also for merchants. In the past year, hackers breached credit card processing systems at major retailers including Target and Home Depot, accessing sensitive customer data. Online identity theft can jeopardize a person’s credit and many cases are never fully resolved. When it comes to financial information and the internet, prevention is the best cure. Here are 3 ways to safeguard your financial data:
Watch Out for Wireless Networks
It may seem convenient to get your banking done at an airport, coffee shop, or hotel, but unprotected public networks can put your financial information at risk. If you must access personal data at these locations, look for a secured network (denoted with a lock symbol) and ask a receptionist or employee for the password. Using a password-secured and encrypted wireless network goes a long way to protect your data. When using your own wireless network at home, be sure to enable encryption and choose a secure password that consists of upper and lower case characters, and at least one number or symbol.
Check for the ‘S’ to Avoid a Mess
Before you pull up your online portfolio or type in your credit card number on Amazon, verify that the sign-in page begins with ‘https.’ This ‘s’ means that the site is secured. Most web browsers also display a lock or key next to the URL to make secured sites easier to identify. Identity thieves often send phishing emails that direct you to imitation websites that look like sites you know and trust. These sites may mimic a credit card processor, or contain misleading links that download malware onto your computer when clicked. If you don’t see the https, stay away. As a rule of thumb, if you’re suspicious about a website, email, or link, don’t take the risk.
Be Wary of What You Post on Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are great places to share photos of a hiking trip or a funny video of a pet. However, there’s such a thing as too much information. Identity thieves often lurk on these sites or create fraudulent accounts to connect with and research potential victims. With enough data, they can accurately guess the answers to security questions, log in to bank accounts, and access other sensitive information. For example, a Facebook post about an upcoming vacation may tip off burglars to an easy target. Try to limit your online circle to close friends, family, and perhaps a few coworkers. Facebook now offers a variety of security settings that regulate how much of your personal information is viewable to the public. Avoid posting your address, phone number, email addresses, or other sensitive information on these sites, and hide as much information from strangers as possible.
Chosen Payments offers secure credit card processing, online data security tools, ATM services, mobile apps, and more to streamline transactions and protect customer information. We also offer business consulting to help clients stay a step ahead of security threats while providing maximum value to their customers.