No, I don't mean bodyguards or insurance. I mean the digital age in which we live. In just the past 15 years we have gone from having only a handful of online logins to more than we can count - often more than 50+ accounts!
I remember attending a conference a few years ago and hearing an executive at Microsoft say something to the effect of "privacy is a thing of the past." I was quite shocked when I heard that, but it appears to be true. Our information is all over the internet - whether we like it or not. If you don't believe me, just check out WhitePages. However, that should never keep us from taking basic & advanced steps to protect ourself from digital hacks & theft.
So before I jump into what you can do to protect yourself personally and financially in the digital age - let me ask a couple questions?
Do you leave your car door or front door unlocked? Or do you always lock it?
Some of us leave those open because we feel safe where we live. In the digital world, it's like living in all types of neighborhoods at once AND we have almost 50+ doors! The digital world is not as safe. Our doors need to be locked, and not just with one basic key, but with multiple!
We all know someone who had their Facebook account hacked right? Maybe even ourselves!
"92% know that using the same password or a variation is a risk.
65% always or mostly still use the same password or variation." - LastPass
Time To Install & Double Lock Your Digital Doors
Keeping track of passwords is tough and frustrating. Creating strong passwords is difficult as we all have felt the frustration of trying to remember a password, being locked out of an account, and spending 20 minutes fixing everything just to be able to log in to an account again.
Often we either create strong passwords and risk forgetting them, or we risk security by choosing convenient but weak passwords used over and over. Both options are bad.
A password manager is required in today's digital age.
I recommend LastPass (no referral links or compensation received here). There are plenty of Password Managers out there.
Here's why I like LastPass (your digital vault):
Tells you which passwords are at risk, which ones are weak/strong, and helps you reset your passwords into strong ones without having to remember them. You get a score of how well you are doing.
By adding the LastPass extension on your phone and computer - LastPass will remember your passwords and automatically fill them in for you when you go to login to your account - saving you countless minutes and pages of password notes.
Give someone you trust access to your vault or even access to one password.
You can record your Passwords, Addresses, Payment Cards, Bank Accounts, Licenses, etc. into LastPass so you have one place to go for all your information needs. This also helps with estate planning for your digital inventory!
Your Phone is the door to all doors in your digital life.
Enhance your phone's security!
Don't forget to implement MFA:
Multi-Factor Authentication for any accounts with your confidential information.
Virtual Private Networks are essential for your electronics. It helps keep your Wi-Fi, wherever you are, secure. That way you are less susceptible to hacks, and you can browse more anonymously.
VPN is like creating your own digital rooms with a locked door in your digital neighborhood. Strangers won't be able to just walk in and see everything you do online (ex. how you login to your bank account).
Dark Web Monitoring:
Sign up for a service that searches for your personal information on the dark web where your information is traded and sold. You'll get notified if your information is found so you can take the necessary steps to protect yourself.
Spend the money to protect your electronics with Virus Software.
Don't open emails that look different. Be skeptical of emails you don't expect or even ones that may look legit. Verify before opening. Add email encryption for confidential information (with a password).
Internet Privacy & Safety Protocols:
Learn about browsers like Brave or DuckDuckGo to enhance your privacy. They help not only with blockings ads & trackers. This saves you time and helps you visit safer websites.
For my digital security I use LastPass, Norton, Brave, FlowCrypt, and other protocols. There are various businesses out there focused on helping you secure your digital life and they don't cost much.
Your digital life = your financial life + your personal life. Start taking steps today to add peace of mind and protect yourself from a future catastrophe.
Beware of scams. Scammers have become very good whether through email, phone calls, text messages, online ads, and more. Speaking of scams, watch out for crypto and investment scams. See the article: Cryptocurrency | Digital Assets for more information about crypto and questions you may have.
Blake Jones, CFP®, EA
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