Personal finance is an area of life that demands a great deal of attention and responsibility. As we continue to conduct more of our financial transactions online, it has become increasingly important to protect our personal and financial information from hackers and cybercriminals. With identity theft and financial fraud on the rise, it is crucial to take steps to safeguard our data.
According to the 2020 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research, the number of identity fraud victims increased by 113% from 2019 to 2020, with 5.4 million consumers falling victim to identity theft. The study also found that the total amount stolen due to identity fraud in 2020 was $16.9 billion. These numbers demonstrate the ongoing and increasing importance of protecting personal and financial data from cyber threats.
Most Common Scams
- Phishing scams: These involve fraudulent emails, text messages, or phone calls that try to trick you into providing personal or financial information or clicking on a malicious link. The goal is often to steal your identity or install malware on your device.
- Tech support scams: These scams often involve a phone call or pop-up message on your computer claiming to be from a well-known tech company. The scammer will try to convince you that there is a problem with your computer and ask you to provide remote access or pay for their services.
- Social media scams: These can take many forms, such as fake giveaways or surveys that ask for personal information. Scammers may also impersonate someone you know on social media to try to gain your trust and convince you to send money or provide sensitive information.
- Charity scams: These involve fraudulent charities or donation requests that claim to support a good cause. Scammers may use a recent disaster or tragedy to solicit donations and steal money from unsuspecting victims.
- Fake Online Shopping Websites: These are websites that appear to be legitimate online retailers but are set up by scammers to steal your money and personal information. Fake online shopping websites can be difficult to spot because they often look like legitimate retailers.
Steps to Make Data Privacy a Priority
So, what can you do to make data privacy a priority? Here are some steps you can take:
- Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication: Use complex, unique passwords for each of your accounts, and enable two-factor authentication whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of security to your accounts and helps protect them from hackers.
- Be Cautious About Sharing Information: Be careful about sharing personal and financial information online, especially on social media. Only share information that is necessary and avoid sharing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account details.
- Keep Your Software and Devices Up to Date: Make sure to install the latest security patches and updates for your software and devices. This can help protect against known vulnerabilities that could be exploited by cyber criminals.
- Use Security Software: Use reputable security software, such as antivirus and anti-malware programs, to help protect your devices from cyber threats.
- Be Wary of Phishing Scams: Phishing scams are a common way for cyber criminals to steal personal and financial information. Be cautious about clicking on links or providing personal information in response to unsolicited emails or messages.
- Monitor Your Accounts: Regularly monitor your bank and credit card accounts for any suspicious activity and report any unauthorized transactions to your financial institution immediately.
By making data privacy a priority, you can help protect your personal and financial information from cyber threats. Whether you’re an individual or a business, taking steps to protect data privacy is essential in today’s digital age.
Presented by the Financial Planning Committee of Lake Street, an SEC Registered Investment Adviser
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