If you think about the growing role the Internet plays in our financial lives, it’s easy to get nervous—but there are signs that an ever-vigilant public is waking up to online threats and adopting safer online practices.
According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, the total number of data breaches fell 23% from 2017 to 2018. A considerable improvement from the years before, which saw a 45% growth in breaches between 2016 and 2017.
To build upon this promising news, a few straightforward steps can help protect your investments online and help prevent identity theft.
How to Prevent Identity Theft
Consider these 5 internet safety tips to help protect your personal information while online.
Internet Safety Tip #1: Use Unique Passwords
One of the simplest ways to keep your personal information secure is by varying passwords. According to the 2019 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, well over half of hacking-related breaches leveraged stolen credentials.
Varying your passwords will help make it tougher for cybercriminals to use credentials stolen from one site to access your data on another.
Internet Safety Tip #2: Vary Your Usernames
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.
Internet Safety Tip #3: Verify Your Identity
Use two-step verification to help protect your personal data online. This is one of the most secure ways to log in to your app or device. As the name suggests, "two-step verification" requires two steps to log into an account. For example, an app may require you to provide your password in combination with your thumbprint or a passcode sent via text to your smartphone.
Internet Safety Tip #4: Use Private Internet Connections
Before opening a financial app or making a purchase online, find a private location where onlookers cannot see your screen and make sure you're connected to a private, secure Wi-Fi access point.
Internet Safety Tip #5: Keep Your Information Up to Date
Update your contact information and enable alerts on all your financial apps to ensure you receive timely notice of suspicious account activity, allowing you to react more quickly to unauthorized use.
The bottom line
Implement these simple safety measures to help secure your financial information and guard against someone stealing your identity.
What you can do next
Learn about the steps Schwab takes to keep client data safe.
Schwab clients: To further protect your financial data, log in and visit the to update your security settings.
If you’re a client, enable two-step authentication on your Schwab app.