Protecting your financial identity

May 18th, 2018

There’s a lot that goes into making us who we are; interests, skills and even which Netflix shows we can hotly debate for hours. We’re individuals and we wouldn’t want what makes us unique to be stolen.

The same holds true for our sensitive financial information, as things like our bank account details, credit cards, and social insurance numbers make it possible for us to function in society as we work towards building the future of our dreams.

Your financial past, present, and future are worth protecting, so here are some tips and things to look out for that can help you do just that.

Phishing

Scammers may not carry a fishing rod or a tackle box, but they’re still “phishing” for your personal data. Their bait could be an e-mail prompt to enter a username and password, or a link that leaves you vulnerable to malware.

You might not think it could happen to you, but with hackers masquerading as banks or other trusted senders, it’s always a good idea to remember how to stay alert:

  1. If an e-mail from a sender you know seems suspicious, avoid hitting reply and send a separate message to the sender to confirm its validity.
  2. Before clicking the URL in an e-mail, make sure the website domain is spelled correctly. If you see any oddities like numbers or special characters within the words, don’t click.
  3. If you log into a valid website and are re-directed to a page where your password is requested again, don’t enter it. This is likely a phishing attack where your password will be recorded.
  4. Don’t post your address or other personal information on social media.

 

If you utilize these steps, you’ll become the human guard your online world could use for protection.

Security Software

Online banking is a breeze, but to keep those transactions safe and sound, the proper security measures need to be in place.

Check if your banking institution has partnered with security software like Trusteer, which targets financial malware and can protect you from fraudulent activity.

If your bank is equipped with website security software, you can gain free access to a desktop version or mobile app. This extra line of defense between yourself and your bank account is easy to install, and doesn’t require account registration or a computer restart in order to work. 

Know your bank, make the most of what’s available, and look into downloading your own security software from trusted sources if you haven’t already.

Credit Reporting Agencies

Before getting stuck with the yacht payments from the line of credit someone took out in your name, you can take preventative action and uncover inconsistencies.

Monitoring your credit report is a great way to do this, as reporting agencies like Equifax and TransUnion compile your history from credit card companies and banks.

Check in on a regular basis to ensure your report is accurate and up-to-date. If you find any transactions that are unfamiliar, flag them for immediate review. You can launch your inquiry by calling the credit bureau for information or filing a written dispute.

By doing your part to keep your identity intact, you can avoid the harmful effects of being a victim of fraud. 

Strong Passwords

Now it’s time for some real talk: Your phone number is not a password. Neither is your last name plus your birthday.

If you’re looking for something that’s easy to remember, we get you, we really do. But there are other ways to build a memorable password that’s also difficult to crack:

Favourite tennis player and favourite number. Now throw in a special character since that’s easy enough to remember.

If sports aren’t your thing, then maybe your password is your latest food truck obsession, topped off by an exclamation mark because yes, you’re that obsessed.

Now that you’ve got some ideas, outsmart the tricksters and keep yourself secure.

If you use these tools to help protect your financial identity, you may just spend less time looking over your shoulder, and more time enjoying technology’s perks.

Stay connected and keep being you.