How to Secure Your Assets
Do you worry about your identity being compromised? Are you concerned about bad guys stealing your money? If so, there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself.
There have been many significant data breaches that exposed our identities with the loss of personally identifiable information (PII), particularly date of birth and social security number. The Equifax and Office of Personnel Management breaches impacted so many people, that it would be prudent to assume some part of your identity has been compromised. Now what? Manage your online profile. Ensure your devices are used in a secure manner. Try to limit which devices you use for online banking. Secure your passwords and protect your email accounts. Not easy tasks to accomplish, but it’s worth a try. The risk is of someone stealing money you have or in creating credit in your name. Countless stories of unauthorized money wired out of your bank account or compromise of your debit card. Generally, the institution will reimburse you, but the time it takes will be exhausting. The credit risk is less obvious: establishing loans in your name, getting credit cards unknown to you or filing unauthorized income tax returns and fraudulent unemployment claims in your name will take longer to fix and negatively impact your credit history for years.
The best way to secure your identity and accounts depends on how you value security versus convenience. Add two factor authentication to your financial accounts in the login process. That one step alone will make your account harder to steal from than other people’s accounts. It takes a bit longer to log in to your account but makes a huge difference. Review monthly activity of your accounts, either online of by reading your monthly statements. If you have accounts with little or no activity, consider adding restrictions. On the credit side, start with adding a freeze with the three credit reporting agencies. If bad guys try to get a loan or credit card in your name, the bank issuing the credit is supposed to check with at least one of the credit reporting agencies. The freeze should prevent new credit from being created. Check your FICO score and review your credit report at least annually to ensure there are no new charges that you did not create. The biggest risk comes from the “inside.” It could be a friend, family member or worker who has access to your home. There are a number of steps to take, which include not keeping passwords in a place visible to others or sharing log in information.
Each person’s threat profile is different and a holistic solution to fit your situation is best. If you have any questions, I’d love to connect. Book time with me HERE.