Modern technology has offered many benefits and time-saving practices to our daily lives. We can be connected just about any place in the world via a computer or smartphone. That makes conducting all types of business easier and faster for millions of consumers.
But with these great advances comes a great responsibility for every consumer. The Identity Theft Resource Center reports that data breaches increased 40% in a single year. That makes financial data protection more crucial than ever.
Variety is More than the Spice of Life
We have passwords for everything in our technology laden world. You can call the bank on the phone still but you need a password to get any information because you are now talking to a computer and not a human. And even if you do need to speak to a human for some reason, you first must verify your identity with a password. Most consumers would be shocked to count the number of accounts that they have which require a password to access their personal information. And they would be even more upset if they realized how many times they use the same word or a variation of a word for different accounts. This is the cyber version of having a single key to unlock every lock that you ever use.
A single password makes it much easier for a criminal to gain all types of personal information about you, your accounts and your finances. Using a unique password for each account will help ensure that if a business is breached, you will only have a single password and a single account at risk. This same logic holds true for your user name as well. Selecting a variety of different user names will help to keep all of your other accounts secure if a single account is breeched. If you are worried about forgetting a variety of passwords and usernames, there are many apps that can be used to track this information or you can create a document and password protect that doc to keep your information safe but accessible.
Biometrics Are Not Just in the Movies Now
Biometric authentication is a security process which relies on unique biological features or characteristics to identify an individual. There are two types of biometrics that can be used, physiological and behavioral. The physiological are the most commonly used and include the fingerprint, palm veins, facial recognition and iris recognition. Behavioral authentication can include typing rhythm, gait and voice recognition. The most widely recognized biometric scanners are now found on smartphones in the form of fingerprint scanners and have been found to be a very reliable safety feature.
Other uses include access to bank vaults, access to restricted work related facilities and some computer networks. In addition, many laptops are now including biometric software to use as a safety feature much like smartphones. Considering the amount of personal data that is stored on phones and laptops, electing to use biometric authentication is wise choice. The average hacker is not going to have the sophisticated equipment needed to replicate your fingerprint. And it is just a way to add another level of security to your devices.
Beware of Free Networks
Public Wi-Fi is a great way to access the internet if you are looking for information in general or just want to surf but you need to be cautious about any other sites that you visit. Try not to go to any sites that you need to log into. There are often sniffers on public Wi-Fi that are there just to intercept usernames and login credentials. You also want to be careful of anyone who is sitting near you and could be watching your keystrokes to learn your username and password info. And going a step further, never log into any type of financial site or any site where you are using a credit card to make a purchase. Only make transactions on a secure network and likewise enter banking sites.
Many times consumers are very lax in updating contact information with credit card companies, banks and other financial businesses. They are thinking that they don’t want to receive a bunch of calls trying to get them to purchase some type of credit card insurance or upgrade their existing plans. But they are forgetting that this information is also used to contact you in case there is a breach or unusual activity on one of your accounts. It can be very helpful to know immediately if someone is trying to use your credit card. With your approval, the lender can immediately disable the card and you can open a fraud investigation to ensure that you are not paying for charges that you didn’t make.
Why It Matters
When you stop for a moment and think about all of the different websites that you use and all of the different devices that you use to access these sites, you will realize that there are many ways something can be compromised. And unfortunately, there is a lot of personal information out there about everyone if you want to spend just a little bit of time looking for it. With one or two passwords and some personal info such as old addresses and employers, it can be easy for someone to begin to create a profile and steal your identity.
They can also access your credit cards and bank accounts and begin to steal your money as well. So it only makes sense to be very protective of your personal and financial information. There are many types of software available to provide financial data protection and the cost is just a fraction of what you would lose if your data is stolen. Technology is a great tool to make your life easier and help you to complete tasks quickly. But you need to be aware of who is around you when you are accessing personal information on a phone or laptop. In addition, you need to be vigilant about reviewing your accounts for odd activity or charges that you did not make. Financial data protection along with common sense will ensure that you never experience identity theft or fraudulent use of your credit cards.