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5 Helpful Ways to Keep your Financial Info Confidential

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5 Helpful Ways to Keep your Financial Info Confidential

Cybersecurity, why is it so important? Protecting your personal financial information from cybercriminals is imperative. 

Cybersecurity is a growing concern in Kenya and I thought I was safe until I realized that I was hacked too.  My personal information was being taken and I still have no idea what for. Every time I share my personal information particularly when filing tax returns and making online transactions, I have to be extra vigilant too about whom and how I share my information. As we approach the tax return season, I am here to tell you that your highest concern should be the security of your personal information. More specifically, your financial information.

There are four most prevalent types of fraud: identity theft, credit/debit card fraud, tax return fraud and illegal deposit-taking.

KRA runs on two systems, and sometimes the information does not always match. If anything can be learned from the KRA hack, is asking how safe our financial information particularly on our own personal devices.

So just how vulnerable is your financial information? Don’t wait to be surprised, here are some suggestions to protect you against financial fraud.

Don’t share secret information

I find it very surprising, how we have agents to help us with everything – from registering for KRA PINS, filing online returns and recently, I learned, even registering for government documents such as passports. This only means that there is a high demand for such services and an even higher level of vulnerability created as a result. So how safe is your personal information? Banks and other major institutions are always reminding us not to share our personal information.

I cannot stress this enough. Do not share your PIN or password.

Advice on how to secure your financial information:

♠ Memorize and use combination letters for passwords and change them frequently.

♠ Do not share personal information online – on social networks particularly.

♠ If a bank calls you asking for personal information, hang-up and call them back.

♠ Deal with only licensed financial institutions and authorized dealers that respect your privacy.

♠ Be extra careful with investments over the internet.

♠ When making investments, be sure to keep copies of all investment documents and communications.

Keep sensitive documents safe

Criminals are always larking, seeking for ways to gain access to whatever financial information they can get their hands on. Ensure you keep track of your monthly or credit bank statements sent to your mail containing financial information.

Advice on how to secure your financial information:

♠ Shred sensitive papers – receipts and bank statements.

♠ Enroll for online banking to reduce chances of paper statements being stolen.

Monitor your bank account and credit reports

Keeping track of your bank statements credit reports will help detect crimes sooner rather than when it is too late.

Advice on how to keep track of your financial information:

♠ Periodically check your account balance and transactions.

♠ Keep track of your credit every four months (learning your credit score would be a good place to start)

♠ Sign-up for online banking to monitor all account transactions.

♠ Contact bank immediately if your card is lost, stolen or subject to fraudulent use.

♠ If you don’t receive transaction alerts – request your bank to alert you on every single transaction on your account to you.

Protect your computer

Have you ever sat at your computer and witness blatant open day theft by a hacker copying your personal information from your computer?

Well, I did and what’s worse, I know it was a neighbor – so if your reading this, know am onto you.

Advice:

♠ Make sure you have a good virus software on your computer – active and up-to-date.

♠ If using Windows, disengage home group networks or any other networks that may make your vulnerable.

♠ When conducting business online – ensure online safety by making sure your browsers padlock is on or key icon is active.

Protect your mobile and other portable devices

Always use a passcode lock on your smart-phone and other devices – today many of us have bank apps and mpesa, ensure its safe. This will make it more difficult for criminals to access your personal or financial information if your devices are lost or stolen.

I have a friend, who I always thought was over the top super paranoid as he always would immediately destroy his phones after a couple of months of use. Each phone has a new number – new details and email account. Like a new digital identity born every couple of months. He even pays companies to manage all his credit and debit cards.

Now, as a victim of cybercrime – I think his paranoia is justified.

Advice:  

♠ Before you donate, sell or even trade your mobile device, be sure to wipe it using specialized software or using the manufacturers recommended techniques.

♠If stolen or lost, there are software’s that allow you to wipe your device remotely if stolen or lost.

♠ Use caution when downloading apps as they do contain malware.

♠ Avoid using opening links and attachments – especially from unknown senders.


Our personal information is easily linked to our financial information hence, privacy is such a big problem today.

I hope you find these tips helpful.

If you have some you would like to share, please leave them in the comment section below.

Remember, always keep it locked down!

Meanwhile, You can click on the following links to read more about financial planning:

 

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