If you think about the growing role the internet plays in our financial lives, it’s easy to get nervous. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the number of data breaches grew 40% from 2015 to 2016. But Bashar Abouseido, Schwab’s chief information security officer, says a few straightforward steps can help protect your investments online.
- Use a unique password for each account. Varying your passwords can make it tougher for cybercriminals to use credentials stolen from one site to access your data on another. Bashar suggests using a password-manager app to keep track of all those digital keys.
- Vary usernames, too. The principle is the same as with passwords: Using different logins, especially for financial apps, can provide an added layer of protection. Avoid using your primary email address as your username whenever possible.
- Use your fingerprint. The biometric identification available on many smart devices is an especially robust safety feature. Enable it on all of the hardware and software for which it’s offered (including Schwab’s mobile apps).
- Beware public Wi-Fi. Before opening a financial app or making a purchase online, make sure you're connected to a private, secure Wi-Fi access point.
- Keep your profile information current. Updating your contact information—and enabling alerts on all your financial apps—helps ensure you’ll receive timely notice of account activity, allowing you to react more quickly to unauthorized use.
The bottom line: Implementing these simple safety measures can help secure your financial information and guard against identity theft.