Cybercrime affects everyone, from large corporations to private individuals. You’ve likely read about the large data breaches in the business world. These crimes are both expensive and on the rise. The U.S. Identity Theft Resource Center says that corporate data breaches reached a peak of 1,632 in 2017. The response to the growing need for data protection has been swift and powerful; venture capitalists have invested $5.3 billion into cybersecurity firms.
Total cybersecurity for your financial matters isn’t something that can be strategized in a single short article like this one, but we offer two suggestions that can help you get started.
A credit freeze restricts access to your credit report, which has information that could be used to open new lines of credit in your name. The freeze prevents this, but it will not prevent a criminal from, for instance, using an active credit card number if they’ve discovered it. For that reason, you still have to monitor for unauthorized transactions during the freeze.
While the freeze is in place, you can still get your free annual credit report. You also won’t have issues with credit background searches for job or renter’s applications or when you buy insurance – the freeze doesn’t affect those areas of your credit history.
To apply for a new line of credit, you’ll need to eliminate the freeze during the application process. It can be done through either a call to the big three credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion) or a visit to their respective websites. You’ll need information you received when you put the freeze in place originally, so keep good records.
There are many tricks that cybercrooks use to learn or intuit our passwords. In fact, 20% of Internet consumers have experienced some sort of account compromise. That comes at a time when about 70% of consumers operate 10 or more accounts. A few, against best practice, will use the same password across each of those accounts. A good security measure against that is password manager software – applications that allow us to keep all of our numerous passwords encrypted in a vault and drop them into our browsers when requested. While yes, there are options to save these passwords, encrypted on most browsers, these security measures are limited. Password managers are focused solely on security and are more frequently updated than browser security features might be. That attention might be difference between a criminal obtaining access to your sensitive personal information or being blocked in the attempt.
While these tips are basic, they may prove to be helpful in your efforts to prevent identity theft. There are, however, additional, more-advanced choices for you to explore. Talk with your trusted financial professional about other cybersecurity best practices that you might consider.
Andrea L. Blackwelder, CFP®, ChFC, CDFA® and Joseph D. Clemens, CFP®, EA are the founders and partners of Wisdom Wealth Strategies. Their shared passion is simple: to bring financial empowerment, understanding, and peace-of mind to people who wish to improve their financial future, build wealth for their families, and achieve financial independence. Click here to find out more about how you can work with the Denver Financial Advisors at Wisdom Wealth Strategies.
“Wisdom Wealth Strategies, LLC is a registered investment advisor offering advisory services in the states of Colorado and California, and in other jurisdictions where exempted.” This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates.