Given the almost weekly news story of online security breaches, it is worth the time to consider your own online security, especially when dealing with your financial accounts. Here are 3 key steps to help make your online experience safer:
1. Deal with reputable companies: We custody client assets at Charles Schwab who not only has state of the art security, it also has one of the best security guarantees in the business. In fact, the straightforward Schwab Online guarantee says “Schwab will cover 100% of any losses in any of your Schwab accounts due to unauthorized activity.” You can read the entire guarantee on Schwab's website.
2. Use Strong Passwords: You’ve heard it before, but using a unique, strong password for each of your accounts is one of the best ways to keep your information safe. Yes, this often means that you have to remember long strings of numbers, letters, and characters. If you are having a hard time keeping all of your passwords straight or if you are still stuck using just one password for everything, consider upgrading to a password manager like 1password (you can find it here) This tool remembers all of your passwords, allowing you to access everything with one master password.
3. Get Virus protection: Having virus protection on your computer is a fundamental part of keeping you safe. Good virus protection such as Norton Anti-Virus will help keep you safe from malware and spyware that hackers could use to steal your passwords when you enter them. There are many anti-virus companies but one of the best is Norton (which can be found here). Virus protection does cost money but the risks of using the internet without this type of protection are too great.
Taking these basic steps will help keep you and your information safe as you use your computer to review your financial information. If you want to learn more, the Federal Trade Commission has additional information about keeping your personal information secure on the FTC website.