At Paul R. Ried Financial Group, we are always striving to take our security to the next level and get ahead of the game - we invite our clients to do the same! Please feel free to use and share this guide to stay on top of your cybersecurity. We are also here for you, if the worst-case scenario becomes reality, to help you know what to do next.
- Keep your usernames and passwords safe - don't share them or store them in an easily accessible place.
- Use complex passwords - the longer, the better! Instead of using a single word (e.g., password), try using an easy-to-remember passphrase.
- Avoid creating passphrases from easily found information (e.g., RexIsMyDog).
- Try creating a random story and use those elements as the passphrase:
- Story: The watermelon invested in stocks and bought a rowboat.
- Passphrase: WatermelonStocksRowBoat
- Adding special characters and numbers are a bonus but increase the difficulty of you remembering.
- Substitutions, such as using "@" instead of an "a" in a word (e.g., @pple), are common and may be easily guessed by hackers.
- Test your password strength: Take the Password Strength Test
- Don't re-use the same passwords for social media or shopping websites as your bank or our Client Portal.
- Enable two-factor authentication when available.
- Hard to remember all your unique passwords? Try a password manager: The Best Password Managers for 2021 - CNET
- Avoid using public or shared computers when accessing important sites, such as your bank.
- If you are using a shared computer, use a private browsing mode to avoid your log-in information from being saved on that device.
- Check that your internet and website connections are secure:
- When using Wi-fi (wireless connection to the internet), choose a network that is password protected.
- When visiting any website where you enter personal information, check for a secure connection. This is usually symbolized by "https://" or a padlock icon in your URL bar at the top of your browser.
- Stay up-to-date on your antivirus software: The Best Antivirus Protection for 2021 - PCMag
- Educate yourself! Scammers and hackers can be crafty, learn their common tactics: How to Avoid Fraud and Identity Theft Scams
- Before entering personal information or responding to an e-mail, verify the recipient is who you intend.
- Sites or e-mails may seem legitimate, but have noticeable flaws like misspellings: "www.google.com" vs. "www.goggle.com"
- Be cautious of e-mails from someone claiming to be a loved one or trusted contact asking for unusual information or money - this is why we require a verbal confirmation for transactions!
- Whenever possible, use a secure system, like our Document Vault in the Client Portal, to send and receive personal information.
- Do you need your access set up? Please feel free to reach out by calling us at 425.646.6777.
- Always manually go to the website to reset a password or enter personal information; don't click on an unexpected link.
- Periodically check on your accounts for suspicious activity.
- Consider signing up for a credit or identity monitoring service: The Best Identity Theft Protection and Monitoring Services in 2021 - CNET
- FBI Recommends Passphrases Over Password Complexity - ZDNet
- Safeguarding Your Financial Information: An Identity Theft Prevention Checklist
- Social Media and Investing - Understanding Your Accounts
- Protecting Your Online Investment Accounts from Fraud
- Identity Theft Protection Services: An Explanation
- Go to IdentityTheft.gov and create your own personalized recovery plan!
- Identify what information was compromised and use the corresponding checklist: When Information is Lost or Exposed
- If you have signed up for a credit or identity monitoring service, check with your provider for their recovery services.
- Give our office a call at 425.646.6777.
- Are you closing your bank account and opening a new one? We may need an updated ACH Authorization Agreement.
- Was your password comprised for our Client Portal? We will be happy to reset your password.
- This is a stressful situation; it's natural to feel panicked and anxious. Learn How to Deal with Mental Trauma After ID Theft.
- Identity Theft: What to know, What to do
- Identity Theft: A Recovery Plan
- Investor Alert: Identity Theft, Data Breaches and Your Investment Accounts
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