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Wise Ways to Protect Home Finances

Posted on Thursday, March 11, 2021
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by AMAC, D.J. Wilson
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Ever wonder who coined the phrase, ‘Honesty is the best policy’? It is attributed to Benjamin Franklin. While it is unknown who exactly originated the slogan, researchers confirmed that the phrase appeared in several of Franklin’s papers. Sadly, there are a lot of bad apples in the world who do not subscribe to Franklin’s way of thinking. For this reason, we need to keep our guard up, especially when it comes to protecting our personal accounts from online fraud, cybersecurity issues, and unscrupulous people.

Debit cards:

  • One of the best ways to keep your money safe is to monitor your account regularly. If you see any unauthorized withdrawals or unusual charges, notify your banking institution immediately.
  • Debit cards are susceptible to fraud, and if an unscrupulous person gets ahold of your account, they could potentially wipe your money out of your account. If possible, use a credit card rather than your debit card for purchases, as credit cards generally offer more protection.
  • Never save your debit card information on a website, nor give out account numbers.
  • Use only ATMs that are associated with a bank.
  • Change your pin and password regularly.
  • If you lose your card, notify your bank immediately.

 

Checking & Savings Accounts:

  • Choose a strong password for online banking and do not share your banking account information.
  • Check your balance regularly and report any issues to your bank immediately.
  • Banks may allow account holders to freeze their accounts in the event of a lost or stolen card that is attached to an account. Freezing generally means that deposits can be made, but certain expenditures are restricted. Check with your bank to fully understand what options are best for you in the event of lost or stolen cards that may affect your accounts.
  • When accessing online account information, only log-in on secure devices.
  • Consider keeping paper statements as a back-up of your account activity in the event you are locked out of your account.

 

Credit Cards:

  • When visiting an ATM or gas station, watch for skimmers and shimmers that can steal your credit card info.
  • Skimmers are card reading devices that get attached to ATMs and payment terminals. ATM skimmers can often be identified as a loose-fitting attachment. They may also have false PIN pads or hidden cameras nearby that are aimed at capturing some of your information, such as card or PIN numbers.
  • Shimmers, designed to read a card’s chip, are smaller and harder to detect. If you suspect anything unusual, do not use the ATM or payment terminal. Instead, report the issue promptly to the bank or the police.

 

To increase debit/credit card protection:

  • When creating passwords for online shopping, use a variety of letters, numbers, and symbols for added security.
  • Never use a shared public computer to make purchases.
  • RFID blocking wallets or cards are a must for card protection. They work by blocking the electromagnetic field surrounding RFID documents and prevent skimmers from receiving a signal and stealing your card information.
  • If you have trouble keeping track of multiple credit card accounts, dedicate one for online usage. When possible, have it set up to receive notifications, such as text messages, whenever purchases are made with credit cards.

 

Desktops & Mobile devices:

  • Always keep your devices updated with the latest and most current software to improve your computer or mobile device’s security.
  • Do not use public Wi-Fi as cybercriminals can easily gain access to your information and personal data.
  • When you shop online, only make purchases from secure websites that you trust.
  • Be mindful and do not click on links to buy things from email solicitations. Avoid clicking on offers that seem too good to be true or come from unknown sources.
  • Never allow your devices to “remember” your credit card information. Once you make an online purchase from a website, be sure to log out of your account completely.
  • Enabling multi-factor authentication provides another level of protection. This means a device user is given access to a website or application after providing two or more pieces of evidence and ensures that others cannot easily access their accounts.  

Identity fraud is a serious matter that can screw up finances and irreparably damage credit reputations, so it’s vital to stay alert and safeguard your money. Many people view financial protection as a worthwhile investment, especially for handling challenging tasks like monitoring the dark web. While some people prefer to monitor their accounts on their own, others turn to identity theft protection companies for comprehensive solutions to keep data safe. Most offer an assortment of protection plans for individuals or families at different price points. Services can cover ID theft and virus protection, credit bureau monitoring, social security number alerts, the safeguarding of home titles, online privacy, and more. As a bonus, services may include covering financial losses up to a pre-set limit and thus offers peace of mind.

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