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Guarding Your Finances: How to Shield Yourself from Financial Fraud and Cybersecurity Threats Thumbnail

Guarding Your Finances: How to Shield Yourself from Financial Fraud and Cybersecurity Threats

Las Vegas, the city of bright lights and entertainment, recently witnessed a different kind of showstopper – a cyberattack on MGM Resorts International. This high-profile breach serves as a stark reminder that cybersecurity and protection against financial fraud are more critical than ever. These criminals are not just after giant corporations. Normal, every day people have to deal with this too. Including me.

A couple of months ago, I got a call from Capital One. I ignored it the first few times because I don’t have any accounts with them. After their third attempt, I answered. The rep on the line asked if I had applied for a credit card. I had not. He said they didn’t think it was me, thanked me for my time, and closed the application. How Capital One knew it wasn’t me, I’ll never know, but I’m thankful they checked with me. I have had someone steal my bank information before and charge thousands of dollars to an airline. It’s not fun to deal with. The call obviously freaked me out, so I immediately checked all my accounts and my credit report but found no suspicious activity. I chalked it up to a weird coincidence.

A few weeks later, my bank called me to report a new address on file. Someone used my social security number to report a new address in Las Vegas. Again, I checked my accounts for any unauthorized transactions and found none. I disputed the Nevada address with the credit bureaus, but now I was nervous because this no longer felt like a coincidence. I made the decision to freeze my credit in case the person out there with my information actually got good at being a criminal. It’s been frozen since.

I feel like I’m pretty careful with my personal information, but these hackers are getting smarter and better at stealing people’s identities. So how can we protect ourselves from these threats? Let’s explore some proactive steps we can take:

  1. Strengthen Passwords: I know, I know. This is obvious and no one likes creating obscure and different passwords for every login situation. Plus, you have to change them all the time and remember them. Ugh! It’s a pain. But it does help. Creating strong and unique passwords for each online account will make it that much harder for someone trying to steal your information. Use a password manager to keep track of them securely.
  2. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): Whenever possible, enable 2FA for your accounts. This adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step, such as a text message or authentication app code.
  3. Be Wary of Phishing Scams: Cybercriminals often use phishing emails to trick you into revealing sensitive information. Be cautious of unsolicited emails, especially those requesting personal or financial details. As much as we hate to use our phones to make phone calls, if you receive an email asking for sensitive information, call the company directly to make sure they are the ones requesting the information.
  4. Regularly Update Software: Keep your operating system, apps, and antivirus software up to date. Updates often include security patches that fix vulnerabilities.
  5. Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks: Avoid conducting financial transactions or accessing sensitive data on public Wi-Fi networks. If necessary, use a virtual private network (VPN) for added security.
  6. Monitor Your Financial Accounts: Regularly review your bank and credit card statements for any suspicious activity. The sooner you detect unauthorized transactions, the quicker you can act.
  7. Secure Your Devices: Protect your computers and mobile devices with strong, unique passwords or PINs. Consider encryption and biometric authentication methods where available.
  8. Educate Yourself: Stay informed about common cybersecurity threats and scams. Knowledge is your best defense against falling victim to fraud.
  9. Backup Your Data: Regularly back up your important data to an external hard drive or cloud storage. This ensures you can recover your data in case of a cyberattack or device failure.
  10. Check Your Credit Reports: Periodically review your credit reports from all three major credit bureaus. Look for any unfamiliar accounts or suspicious activity.

In this era of digital convenience and heightened cyber threats, safeguarding your financial well-being has never been more crucial. By implementing strong security practices, staying vigilant against scams, and regularly updating your cybersecurity knowledge, you can significantly reduce the chances of falling victim to financial fraud. In this digital age, where convenience often goes hand in hand with risk, safeguarding your financial health is more important than ever. Remember, your financial security is worth the effort. While we can't eliminate all risks, we can take proactive steps to minimize them and protect our financial well-being.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and looking for guidance to fortify your financial security and navigate the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity and financial fraud, please reach out to me for a personalized consultation – Jennifer.Jenkins@bluestonewp.com. As a seasoned financial advisor, I'm here to help you build a robust financial plan and safeguard your assets. Your financial security is my top priority, and together, we can take proactive steps to secure your legacy.