There are several ways you can better safeguard your financial information. In the wake of the recent CapitalOne data breach, it's only natural to start thinking about how you can protect your own personal data. These few, simple tips will not only help protect you and your financial integrity, but can also give you peace of mind knowing you're armed with the knowledge it takes to stay safe.
Maintain a Strong Password
Don’t use insecure passwords like 12345678, “Password” or personal information such as birthdate, name, or SSN. In addition, don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Secure passwords have a combination of upper and lower case characters, numbers, special characters such as #, $, and are 8 characters or longer.
Check your accounts regularly
Look over your credit card and banking statements and report any suspicious activity to the financial institution as soon as possible.
Freeze your Credit
If you suspect any suspicious activity you can freeze your account. No one can access your personal information while your account is frozen. Therefore, fraudulent loans cannot be taken out in your name because the lenders cannot access your credit report. Visit the three credit bureaus online, Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion to place a freeze.
Just remember, once you place the freeze, you cannot access the report either unless you ask the credit bureaus to unfreeze it.
Check your Credit Score
Pull your credit reports from three credit bureaus. Each one gives you one free credit report every year. If you see any suspicious activity, like new accounts opened without your knowledge, alert the credit bureau and credit lender.
Sign up for a credit monitoring service. Your lender or financial institution might even offer it.
Watch out for Scams
Don’t take up offers from creditors via phone calls or emails unless you have called them using phone numbers found on the legitimate website.
During web browsing, only visit secure sites. Reputable sites begin with “https://”. The "s" is crucial and indicates the site is secure.