Online hackers can ruin lives. In recent years, over two billion accounts have been hacked online annually. While this number does not only refer to bank accounts, those are certainly frequent targets. Unfortunately, there is no way to absolutely guarantee your accounts are safe from breaches. There are, however, a number of relatively easy measures you can take to make your accounts more secure.
1. Use Unique Passwords
Do not use the same password on multiple accounts. If one of your accounts suffers a data breach, it will leave every other account with that password vulnerable. Another thing to avoid: using obvious information like kids’ or pets’ names, phone numbers, or birthdays. All of these things can easily be found online, putting your accounts at a greater risk.
If you worry that having multiple passwords will be too complicated or confusing, consider using a password manager. LastPass and 1Password are programs created specifically for keeping passwords organized. “Passphrases” are also a good idea to improve security. Consider, for example, a phrase like “my dog Fred is No. 1,” which becomes a strong password like: “mydogFr3d#1!”
2. Review Your Statements
Whether you access your bank statements online or on paper, review them often. If anything looks odd or unfamiliar, contact your bank or credit card company immediately.
There are theft protection services available if you don’t have the time to check your own statements regularly, or if you want immediate notifications with respect to suspicious activity. These credit monitoring and identity theft protection services inform you right away if there is a particularly large charge or if a purchase is made in a different state or country than your residence or normal activity. Note that these services won’t protect your accounts from being compromised, but they will provide immediate notice and limit your liability.
3. Set Up Two-Step Authentication
Adding a second layer of defense will help to protect your accounts from hackers. A multi-step login could consist of a password, passcode, or a biometrics login such as a fingerprint or facial scan—and also a one-time code sent to your phone. While two-step authentication does not provide a complete security guarantee, it makes hacking your accounts significantly more difficult.
4. Avoid Private Activity on Public Internet
While this tip is not particularly relevant while Oregon’s Stay-at-Home Order is in effect, we hope to put you on notice. Do not use coffee shop, airport, library, hotel, or other public Internet for activity you would like to remain private. Financial transactions such as online banking, trading, or entering credit card information should be avoided in these places. You cannot know when your information is being monitored or stored, so save these activities for the secure Internet in your home. If you need to conduct transactions like these and you cannot get home to do so, opt to use your smartphone as a personal hotspot.
If you have questions about protecting your accounts, call or e-mail us at (541)738-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a telephonic intake appointment. Please note that we are unable to answer any questions unless or until you have scheduled an intake appointment and met by telephone with one of our attorneys.
This website is for general informational purposes only and nothing contained herein constitutes legal advice. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship between any attorney at The Reynolds Law Firm, P.C., and the reader. The information contained on this website, while current at the time it was written, may not reflect the most current legal developments. The Reynolds Law Firm, P.C., expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this site.