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6 Ways to Protect Your Finances from Cyber Criminals

hacker-1952027_640In today’s day and age, it is more important than ever to be extremely vigilant when it comes to protecting your personal sensitive information from cyber criminals.  Businesses are the main target of cyber criminals, but more and more frequently they are beginning to target seniors.  Seniors tend to have larger financial assets and many are not technologically advanced.  For this reason, cyber criminals targeting more and more people online.  Here are 6 ways to protect your finances from cyber criminals.

Be careful of everything you click on

Pay extremely close attention to the links you are attempting to access. In order to make sure you are not deceived, you can hover the mouse cursor over the link you are trying to access to see if you are directed to a legitimate location.  If you were looking to access your favorite news website, such as www.abcnews.go.com”, but the link indicates hfieo88.net“, then you should not click on the link.

Be wary of any email you receive from an unknown source.

Phishing is a strategy where someone sends an email that looks like it is from a legitimate source.  The email frequently looks like it is from a business and they usually try to have something to do with clicking on something now before it is too late.  They try to put the element of scarcity into their message in an attempt to get you to not discard the email and to get you to act immediately.  Once you do click on the link they usually either infect your computer with a virus or it allows the criminal to than have access to your device where they can than find your passwords and possibly access your financial information.

Do not use the same password for everything.

Passwords need to have a bare minimum set of requirements. It is best to not use the same password for all of your accounts.  Here are some examples of strong and weak passwords. 

5g2mo,e8Pw18=

This would be an example of a password that is extremely secure. 

fOoTBaLl_3951+4617

This would be an example of a password that is a little less secure, but easier to remember. 

BillbObbRoWn or password

These are examples of terrible passwords that should never be used.

I personally like using something similar to the middle password. This allows me to change just the word Football with the time of the year. In the Summer I might use Baseball or Beach, in the Winter I might use Basketball or Thanksgiving. As long as you are keeping the other numbers and special characters random it is difficult for hackers to hack through these secure passwords. This is my way of changing the password frequently but not having to remember an entirely new password each time I update the password. The birthdays of yourself or a family member should never be used. There should also be a time period for how frequently a password must be changed. Every 90 days is a good rule of thumb, but many businesses have different requirements based on the needs of their organizations.

Only purchase things online from websites that use https

If you are planning to purchase something online, make sure the web address starts with https:// The “s” stands for secure socket layer.  It indicates you are connected to a website that encrypts all data sent and received.  This may not mean anything to someone who is not technologically advanced, but it is extremely important when it comes to keeping your personal information secure.

If you own a small business, make sure you purchase adequate cyber insurance.

If you own a small business long enough, you know accidents occur. It is not a matter of if, but when. This is no different in the case of a data breach. Most small businesses can have data breach insurance bundled with their other insurance for a relatively small amount. Depending on the size of your business this can cost as little as a few hundred dollars. That pales in comparison to the thousands it will cost to repair your business after a data breach occurs. 

Shred all sensitive documents

In today’s day and age, there is no reason for you not to shred any personal information before disposing of it.  If you have a lot, there are businesses that can assist in the shredding and disposing of sensitive documents.  Most banks have a shred day periodically.

Mitchell Sharp is a Marketing Associate for General Liability Shop.  Mitchell has extensive knowledge of workers’ compensation and cyber liability. His passion is in using his knowledge of commercial insurance, social media and content marketing to benefit the small business community.

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