Do you worry about whether your credit rating is high enough for that next home purchase? Are you kept up late at night wondering if your credit card number is in some hackers file in some far away foreign country? These are just two examples of how today’s world of hackers and phishing expeditions that have nothing to do with an old fashion rod and reel are affecting us all. We wonder if that last odd-looking website we visited today was real or something created to steal our identity and all that goes with it.
It is enough to make us all chuck our computers out the closest window and return to the stone age of pre-computer life. But you don’t have to forsaken the web to avoid being trapped by malicious web hackers and the like. All you need to do is act with thought and care when heading to the web. Here are some pointers to help you navigate these treacherous waters in safety.
This may seem like a simple idea but it is one that many of us don’t even bother with until it is too late. We all love our smartphones and tablets and how portable they are. But if you are using that device for anything more than checking your email, you need to make sure it is heavily protected. Make sure that the device itself is password protected so you can reduce the possibility of someone stealing it and hacking into your phone or tablet.
Next, be sure that any personal information you have is password protected as well. If you go onto a computer at work, you should be changing that login password often to prevent anyone who has seen you log in from using it to gain access to business financial information.
Do you know if the website you are visiting is safe to use? If you see an email in your inbox that is unfamiliar or one from a business or bank you do business with that asks for passwords or any kind of personal information, report it as spam and get out of it quickly! Never follow links to sites from emails that are unfamiliar.
If you do go to a website, especially if you plan to make a purchase on the site, make sure that the online payment processing services are safe to use. You can ensure this by checking if the locked padlock is in the URL address for the site. This indicates that the site uses special encryption and has safe practices for its customers, such as direct connections with its financial servers. Never buy from a site that doesn’t show this symbol.
Protect Your Credit Card
The weakest link of all in your financial web is your credit card. Many stores allow you to tap and walk. This makes it all too easy for thieves to use your card. If you can, don’t carry your credit card with you but instead only take it along when you know you are planning to make a purchase that day. If you must carry it, make sure it is in a protective sleeve that will prevent anyone else from reading it as they pass by.
We know that many credit cards with the magnetic strip can be read by devices that thieves carry in their bags. This makes it so important that your card is unreadable until you take it out of its protective sleeve. They are inexpensive and easy to use, so make sure you have one for each card and use them. Always better to be safe then regretting that lost step later when you find your card has been hacked.