San Diego County CA— In our day and age, identity theft is unfortunately a part of the day-to-day vernacular. Financial experts predict that in 2016, 65% of all Americans will have had some personal or financial data compromised, but not necessarily used. With numbers this staggering, keeping the cyber-security of your finances should be a priority.
Below, Paul Socia, CEO and president of Miramar Federal Credit Union, has compiled three simple tips for businesses and consumers alike to avoid the financial hot seat this summer.
- Make yourself a solid password, and don’t change it—you’ve heard that if you only change your password once a quarter, chances are, someone has already discovered your login information, so you change your password every three months like clockwork. However, this advice is wrong. According to research, when changing passwords often, users often follow patterns that link old passwords to new passwords — such as replacing a letter with a common number or symbol substitute (think changing an E into a 3), or adding or removing special characters like exclamation marks—which makes passwords easier to guess. Instead, make a strong password and keep it until you’ve been notified that your information may be compromised.
- Watch what you email—Email remains the primary vehicle for injecting malware and conducting reconnaissance. If someone sends an email with no text and includes only an attachment, don’t open and don’t forward it to your IT representative. Take a screenshot to safely share the breach with your IT team, and delete the original email. It is also a good idea to check your account’s sent messages every so often to look for suspicious messages that could unknowingly be sent from your account.
- Consider signing up for extra protection—if your banking information is ever compromised, your financial institution will work with you to reverse any ill charges on your account. However, sometimes this is not always enough. For instance, when you experience identity theft and need to have a new credit card issued, your bank and/or credit card provider notifies you of this; however, they do not go the extra step to remind you of all of the ways your card is connected to monthly automated charges like your cable bill. You can go weeks without realizing these monthly bills are not being paid and accrue late charges because of this. To help counter such issues that arise with cyber-security breaches, an option like MFed’s Kasasa ProtectTM is an economical way to take care of the entire privacy breach so you are covered from all angles.