Your financial information is very important, after all, it can identify how much money you have in your accounts, where your accounts are located, and the methods that you use to complete common transactions. Because of this, it’s very important that you make sure that your financial information is secure and that you’re not inadvertently giving criminals a way to steal your money or even your identity.
There are several methods that can be used to help secure your financial information and protect your identity, below you’ll find some of the easiest and most common so as to help ease your mind from the worries of identity theft.
Be Careful with Records
No matter what sort of bank accounts you use and regardless of the types of transactions that you make, there will always be some sort of financial record that could be used illegally if you’re not careful. It’s important that you don’t simply leave your financial records sitting around in the open or toss them in the top of your garbage can when you’re done with them. Many financial institutions now offer electronic records that can be accessed from a secure website online, and online retailers usually send e-mail receipts that disguise payment methods.
Investigate the options available to you that can reduce the amount of paper records that you have to keep on hand, and those records that you do keep physical copies should be placed in a secure location for as long as you retain them. Using a fireproof lockbox or safe can keep them secure with the added benefit of protecting them in the event of fire or other disasters.
Dispose of Financial Documents Properly
When the time comes to get rid of some of your financial records and other documents, you should make sure that you do so properly. Shop around and purchase an electronic document shredder, preferably one that offers cross-cut shredding so that the documents are reduced to confetti-sized pieces instead of the strips that are made by straight-cut shredders.
If you keep a lot of your financial information on computer CD’s, you might want to consider purchasing a device known as a CD shredder, which makes a number of holes and pits in the face of a CD and makes it unreadable and unrepairable. Alternately, make sure that the CD is physically broken into several pieces or the face of it has been burned or otherwise permanently damaged.
Beware of Suspicious E-mail
A variety of e-mails appear to be from legitimate senders that you do business with, but in reality, are simply a method to try and get your login information so that others can access any financial or personal information contained within your account. If an e-mail does not match other e-mails that you have received from the supposed sender or asks that you click on strange-looking links to update your account information, log into the homepage of the site the e-mail claims to be from and report it to the site’s fraud department to see if it is legitimate before attempting to do anything the e-mail says.
Avoiding Fake Websites
Much like fake e-mails, fake websites attempt to steal your login information to a particular site so that others can access your account. Beware of typos in the URL that you enter, because even though it looks like the right site it may be a site that was created to be a copy of the original to fool you. Retype the URL instead of going ahead with the current site, just to make sure.
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