Modern technology has made it easier than ever before to make purchases, access your bank accounts, and otherwise manage your money. Unfortunately, that also makes it easier for hackers and scammers to gain access to your money, which means that you have to take extra steps to keep yourself safe in the digital age.
Thinking Before You Click
The easiest way to keep your money safe while sitting at a computer is to be careful about what you do online. If you see a link that you feel is suspicious, don’t click on it. The same thing goes for mysterious emails from people you don’t know or any ads that seem like they’re too good to be true. This advice has been applicable for years, but it is especially important in the age of social media. It’s easy for a scammer to post an ad or a link on a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account that puts malware onto your computer, so think twice before clicking any links or opening any files on social media.
Check Your Passwords
Your bank and email accounts should always have strong passwords. Generally speaking, a “strong” password is one that consists of at least 12 characters and includes numbers, symbols, and both upper and lower-case letters. Use a unique password for each account, and try to stay away from the names of people you know and other information that someone can guess if they know you. A string of random characters is usually best, and if that is going to be too difficult for you to remember, we recommend using password managers that generate and save secure passwords for you.
Dispose of Electronics Properly
You might think you’ve completely wiped all of your information from a laptop or smartphone before you throw it away, but a savvy hacker can still find ways to access your data from your old devices. When it’s time to get rid of your old electronics, contact the Better Business Bureau or your city to find secure electronics recycling programs that will dispose of your devices safely so that nobody can gain access to them.
Check Your Credit
Finally, check your credit report once a year to make sure that there aren’t any financial hacks or other unforeseen problems. Report any suspicious activity to the credit bureaus as soon as possible.