3 Most Effective Ways to Keep Your Finances Secure

Imagine this: After weeks or even months of waiting, you finally receive your stimulus money from the government. If you remember, the government has been trying to implement the CARES Act for weeks right now, but there are still thousands of Americans who are waiting for their stimulus money.

But, just for a moment, imagine that you are looking at the stimulus money that you were supposed to receive weeks ago. Whether you got it as a direct deposit, via paper check, or through the new method of the IRS, via prepaid debit card – the stimulus money is finally with you. But, because your finances are not secure, someone goes in and steals it from you just a short while later. What could be worse than that?

The thing is, since everyone knows that the government is sending out billions of dollars’ worth of stimulus money right now, there will be a ton of people who are looking to take advantage of that. This is why it is more important now than ever to know how to keep your finances secure. Thanks to this list of the 3 Most Effective Ways to Keep Your Finances Secure, you will learn what you can do to make it as hard as possible for criminals out there to get their hands on your money.

1. Best practices. Before you get all wrapped up in passwords and internet security, first take a step back and think about the best practices you can implement right now to keep your finances secure. Because as it turns out, even small things in your day-to-day life will have a big impact on how safe your finances are out there. Remember: All it takes for your finances to be secure is that you have better methods in place than most other people out there.

Because hackers will always go for the low hanging fruit, as every additional bit of effort not only takes more time but also puts them at a greater risk of getting caught. So, what can you do right now to keep your finances secure? It may sound obvious, but make sure never to share your passwords around anywhere. This not only applies to send your passwords via email. It is equally important to avoid storing them on your computer, having them lie around your office in obvious places, or telling friends and family openly about your account information. Only one weak link or someone overhearing you is enough, and your security is compromised.

The same applies to your social security number and your credit card numbers. Never take photos of your cards, especially for social media. But also when you just hold them in your hand while walking around outside, make sure to cover the numbers on the cards with your hand, if you can, and only take them out when you really need them. Finally, if you get strange emails, make sure not to open them – especially attachments. If something is super important, people will get back to you. Nothing is worth the risk of getting a virus on your computer that will steal all your passwords from you.

2. Upgrade your passwords. Everyone knows what a safe password has to look like these days: They have to be long, contain upper- and lower-case letters, as well as numbers and symbols. Also, they should contain words that appear in the dictionary, or information that is personally related to you, such as your birth date or that of your spouse or children.

The obvious problem with this list of requirements is that it is almost impossible to have amazing passwords for everything and also remember them when you need them. This is where password managers come in. These programs help you save all your passwords and protect them with top-of-the-range encryption technology. All you need to do is to come up with one super strong and secure password that you use to access your password manager. This way, you can feel free to go for the craziest combinations of letters, symbols, and numbers in your passwords, even randomly mash your keyboard, because the password manager will take care of everything from then on.

Another way to upgrade your passwords is through two-factor authentication. This means that in order to log in somewhere, you have to also type in a number that is sent to your phone first. This way, hackers not only need your account information, but also this one-time code to get into your accounts – which makes hacking a lot more difficult.

3. Get reports and alerts. You can get three free credit reports per year, one per major credit bureau. This is something you should take advantage of to keep your finances secure because it will simply keep you up to date about your credit report. Then, you can not only catch fraud but also make sure your credit report is free of mistakes, which is something that happens more often than you would think.

The next step here is credit alerts. These are also free, and they will let you know every time your spending goes up, a new card is being opened, a card was paid off or there are opportunities to reduce your debt. This is another easy way to maintain your awareness of what is going on with your finances, so it is definitely recommended.

There you go! Three effective ways to keep your finances secure, and all of them super easy. On top of that, most of them (not the password manager) are free, too!