The easiest way to protect your hard-earned cash is to keep it in a safe place. A bank is one of the most secure places for your money because it’s the bank’s job to keep it safe. It will give you peace of mind knowing where your money is at all times. Just like you wouldn’t leave your backpack unattended outside, you shouldn’t leave your money where it could be stolen or lost. Protecting your financial information online is just as important as keeping your money in a bank. You can access nearly any information online, but with all that access also comes responsibility.
What happens when someone takes your information? They can use your personal information to steal your identity and illegally obtain jobs, credit accounts, mortgages and car loans — not to mention withdraw money from your bank accounts. Luckily, most banks protect your account from those kinds of crimes, but it’s essential to keep your other information safe from the start. Personal information of any kind is important to keep secure, even information about your schooling or family.
You should always use strong passwords, which contain uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols — not recognizable spelled-out words. You should know how to access all your online information and paper documents if you need them. Your passwords and documents should be kept in a safe place where they can’t get into the wrong hands.
Everyone receives unwanted emails or “spam” from unknown sources, which solicit people by sending emails to a large number of email accounts. Delete spam emails, especially those that ask for personal information, and keep your anti-virus and anti-spyware software up-to-date. Shop online only on secure web pages (check the address bar for “https” next to an image of a lock). Never email or share images of your identification, bank cards or other personal information on social media.
Did your parents help you set up a savings account at a bank? Your bank will send you monthly statements telling you how much money is in the account, as well as the number and dollar amounts of withdrawals and deposits. Shred unneeded bank documents and other files that contain your personal financial information so that they can’t get into the wrong hands.
Your parents may have told you about being aware of scammers. These are people who contact you via phone or email claiming to represent a bank, a credit card company, a government agency, a charity or any other organization. Never give out information about your bank account or passport. If you think the request is legitimate, have your parents contact the company to directly confirm its request.