Protect your financial information online
If you’re an investor, you probably enjoy the convenience of managing your accounts online. But you’ll also want to make sure that you’re not making it convenient for hackers, “phishers” and others with bad intentions to gain the same access.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to protect your privacy. Here are a few suggestions offered by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission:
- Use a strong password or passphrase. You’ll want to pick a password that would be virtually impossible for anyone to guess, employing capital and lowercase letters, plus symbols and numbers. Of course, you’ll want to record the password in a secure place so you won’t forget it. Instead of using a password, you may have the option of choosing a passphrase, which contains a series of words strung together. You’ll want to avoid phrases taken from popular culture or that are otherwise commonly used. And it’s also a good idea not to use phrases containing your name, birthday or other personal identifiers.
- Activate your account alerts. When you turn on your account alerts, you’ll receive text messages or emails notifying you of certain activities, such as account logins, failed account login attempts, personal information changes, money transfers, adding or deleting of external financial accounts, and more. These alerts can help you monitor your accounts for fraud and verify your own moves, as well.
- Avoid using public computers to access investment accounts. If you’re at a hotel or library, try to avoid the temptation to use the computer to check in on your investments. But if you do use a public computer, at least take proper precautions. For starters, don’t leave data on a screen and walk away, even for a moment. And when you’re finished with the computer, log out of your account to end the online session. You may also want to change any password you used.
- Ignore suspicious links. Be suspicious of emails or text messages containing links claiming to be connected to your investment accounts. These links could take you to websites designed to solicit sensitive account information, which could then be used for financial or identity theft. Even if the link seems to be coming from a business you know, you’ll want to be quite cautious – experienced “phishers” can now create websites or online documents that look real. And keep in mind that legitimate investment firms will not ask you to divulge personal information without going through the password or two-step authentication protocols already described.
The ability to connect with your investment accounts online can be extremely useful to you – and you’ll feel more comfortable about these interactions if you know you’ve done all you can to safeguard your information.
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.
Edward Jones, Member SIPC
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Short /radio version
PSA:Protect your financial information online
TBA: Oct. 25, 2021
It’s convenient to connect with your investment accounts online – but you do have to watch out for identity thieves.
The Securities and Exchange Commission recommends several steps to protect your sensitive information. First, use strong passwords when you set up your accounts. You may also have the option of using passphrases, which consist of several words strung together. Try to avoid phrases widely used in entertainment or media.
And if your investment company offers two-step authentication, take advantage of it. By being asked to enter information such as the model of your first car, you’ll achieve another layer of security.
Also, avoid public computers to access your investment accounts. If you do have to use one, make sure to log out of your account and end your online session.
Finally, don’t click on links you may receive that claim to connect to your accounts. These links may be efforts by scammers to gain personal data.
By taking the proper precautions, you can enjoy the benefits of interacting with your accounts online – without exposing yourself to potential risks.
This content was provided by Edward Jones for use by (FA's NAME), your Edward Jones financial advisor at (Branch address or phone #).
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