Year end clean up: Protecting your informationSubmitted by Financial Planning Solutions, LLC on December 27th, 2018
With our lives moving online, the number of ways that bad guys can take advantage of us seems to be growing exponentially. And, there is reason to worry: According to 2018 Identity Fraud, there were 16.7 million victims of identity fraud in 2017, a record high that was preceded by another record high in 2016.
It seems as though every time we turn around there is an even bigger theft of personal information than before. So, let’s be wise as we start to make our lists for 2019. Here are some ideas on how to protect your information:
Don’t respond to requests for personal information
The bad guys will contact you often pretending to be credible, well-known companies. They will be looking for your personal information. We--or any company for that matter--will never call, email or text you requesting your logon information.*
Report suspicious texts or emails
Fraudsters like to impersonate familiar companies and organizations to get you to click on their links. These can install malware or bring you to a website that looks legitimate to get you to provide your personal information. Don’t click and don’t reply. One way to check on emails and links is to hover your mouse over them. With most browsers, this will reveal the actual email or web address. Scams often display a different label from the actual address. Report suspicious texts or emails to the organization’s abuse department. For your FPS accounts, just call us at 617-630-4978.
Don’t let scams ruin your holidays
The holidays seem to bring more scams by phone, email and text that are trying to lure you into making extra money or deals. Many of these scams describe a work-at-home get-rich plan. Delete them and move on.
A password used to be enough to protect you--not anymore. Cyber criminals have sophisticated tools to figure out your passwords. If you use the same password for multiple logins, you’re making it easier for cyber thieves to take all of your stuff. Use multi-factor authentication. It sounds like a mouthful but it’s really just using a two-step process: 1) enter your user name and password and then 2) wait for a text or email with a code that you’ll then enter at the website you are trying to access. I would do this with any account where you can make money transactions, such as banks, retail stores, etc.
Use tools to help you monitor your accounts
Monitor your accounts regularly. Set up fraud alerts to your phone. Set limits for your online banking or credit cards for transactions that are above your typical purchase amounts. If you are not traveling outside of the US anytime soon, tell your cell phone provider to block calls from overseas. (After a visit to Jamaica last year, a stranger attempted to make friends with my son by phone and somehow caused him to rack up $400 worth of international phone charges.)
If you have questions about how we keep your info safe, give us a call. We’ll be glad to discuss further.
* Financial Planning Solutions uses a service provided by Morningstar to aggregate accounts that are held-away from TD Ameritrade. On some occasions we may give you the option to provide your user information so that we can expedite the establishment of your aggregation service. You can still sign up for this service without providing your use info to FPS by utilizing the self-service set up feature. This service does not authorize us or any party to transact on your held-away accounts.
Financial Planning Solutions, LLC (FPS) is a Registered Investment Advisor. FPS provides this blog for informational and educational purposes only. Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, tax, or legal advice. FPS only renders personalized advice to each client after entering into an advisory relationship. Information herein includes opinions and forward-looking statements that may not come to pass. Information is derived from sources believed to be reliable. Information is at a point in time and subject to change without notice. Such information may not be independently verified by FPS. Please see important disclosures link at the bottom of this page.