How to Boost Your Cyber Security in Time for the Holidays

cyber-security-awareness

The digital age has made society increasingly comfortable with distributing personal information without second thought.

This convenience comes with risks and it is often all too easy to forget the consequences of compromised information.

Currently, consumers are paying for programs to help protect their personal information. Some of these programs can put a big dent in your bank account. Even though securing a program is a good safety net, there are easier and more cost-effective options to boost your cyber security.

Here are steps you should take as a consumer to ensure personal information is safe and secure.

Have a Creative Password

You’ll be asked to create a password for online banking and banking apps for security. To ensure your password doesn’t get cracked, you might want to get creative. For example, use the “@” sign instead of using an “a,” or use the “$” in place of an “s”. Little changes like this can go a long way.

Adjust your Alerts

You can set up security alerts with online banking that notify you when you’ve made a payment or when you card is used. You might want to set up text message or email alerts, so you are always aware of what is going on with your account.

Check all Financial Statements

Thoroughly read over all credit and debit card statements to look out for any suspicious or uncertain purchases that were possibly made. Be sure to check frequently to keep track of your purchases and be more aware of what you purchased and what you did not. Take note of any unwanted purchases and contact the credit card company immediately.

Contact Credit Bureaus

To stay up to date with cyber security, you should make it a point to obtain a free copy of your credit report. Consumers are entitled to a free credit report every year, which includes credit card balance and payment activity. Get in touch with one of the three major credit bureaus, including Experian, TransUnion, or Equifax. You can request a credit report online at www.annualcreditreport.com.

Secure Dormant Credit Cards

If you have several credit cards that you aren’t using, then you might be a perfect candidate for identity theft. Depending on your credit card provider, you might be able to freeze your card when you aren’t using it and unfreeze it when you are ready. For example, you might only use your home improvement credit card when appliances break in your home. If this is the case, call your provider and see how you can freeze your card temporarily. This will allow you to be in control of your financial cyber security.

Lastly, if you are a victim of identity theft, don’t panic! All banks are aware of the situation and should be understanding if any fraud occurs on your account. If you do find yourself in a debt issue, make sure to take the proper steps to get your finances back in order. This might mean consulting a debt attorney to help you get started.

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