The fintech industry is hard at work to create more protective measures for the consumer but as with most concerns, the best defense begins at home. It’s all about increasing your awareness and taking back control into your own hands, often in very simple yet effective ways.
Understand where you’re at and know your budget
In order to protect your finances, you must have a good understanding around where you’re at, where you want to go, and, have the discipline and strategies in place to get you there. Continued awareness requires careful budgeting and proper tracking. Your budget allows you to ensure you’re earning more than you’re spending so you can primarily meet your essential needs while leaving a portion of your income to save and/or invest for your retirement. It also helps you protect your finances by paying down any debts and avoiding further fees and interest. In fact, having a healthy savings to fall back on is the best way to be prepared and stay safe for anything that inevitably will come up as life happens. It’s also important to continue to track your spending and compare it against your budget. Ongoing tracking will also help you quickly identify any fraudulent activity should it occur.
Beware of predators
While you work hard to earn and grow your finances, there’s always someone ready to take advantage, especially online. Identity theft is at an all-time high and scammers continue to gain in complexity when it comes to their strategies. Essential ways to protect yourself include taking care of financial activities like online banking at home on your own secure network. Inconvenient as it may seem, experts also encourage you to enable multifactor authentication for any financial accounts and platforms. You can also better protect your devices by using and regularly updating anti-virus software, ensuring your firewall is turned on, being careful about downloads, and regularly clearing off your browsing history.
Protect yourself by learning more
When it comes to protecting your finances, a little research goes a long way. Your banking and other service providers should be happy to answer any questions around which items of your data they store, how they ensure that it’s kept securely and whether you as a user can restrict access to certain types of information. Another step you can take is to reach out to the major credit bureaus and lock your credit score with them. Should a predator attempt to open credit in your name or if your credit report changes, you’ll be alerted right away. Finally, it may be worthwhile to explore cybersecurity insurance coverage. Working through this application process is a great way to educate yourself around best protective practices and raise your awareness around potential threats.
All of these options are simple, affordable, and really only require a small investment of time. In the long-run, avoiding learning the hard way is well worth it.