So you’re making money, and you know how to budget. But are you up-to-date with how to protect your hard-earned and hard-saved cash? You could be leaking your financial information without even knowing it.
Here are five ways you leak your financial information. And some easy steps that will help you to protect it.
1| Falling for Phishing Emails
An incredible 92.4% of malware is delivered by email. Dangerous emails often look pretty convincing. They’re designed to look similar to emails you receive from reputable companies. Or your bank. Or government agencies. Or even someone from your own address book.
These emails might ask for financial information in order to make a refund or clarify a payment. Alternatively, they could include a link that will download malware to your computer and allow hackers to steal your financial details.
How to Protect Your Financial Information: Never open an email you’re unsure about. And absolutely, never click on a link contained within an email you don’t trust.
Your bank and other reputable companies have strict security policies. They don’t ask for your details over email. And they never ask you to disclose your full password. So, listen to your instincts and send any suspicious emails straight to your junk folder.
2| Using the Same Weak Passwords for Years on End
Hackers are pretty clever. And they have some seriously scary technology at their disposal. This makes cracking poor quality passwords an absolute cinch.
Cyber criminals have also managed to steal login information from company websites, as in the example of this huge data breach.
Think of all the places you use your login details. Email, online retailers, banks. There are lots of sensitive information there for hackers to get their hands on.
How to Protect Your Financial Information: Create strong passwords that contain a combination of numbers, upper and lower-case letters, and symbols. Try not to include any recognizable words. And change your passwords regularly.
3| Saving Your Card Details and Passwords
Sure, it makes life easier. But saving card details when shopping online? Or saving passwords on your browser? It’s a bad idea for your financial security.
If your laptop is stolen or a retailer experiences a data breach, someone else gets access to your card details.
And depending on which browser you’re using, someone accessing your computer could get hold of an alphabetized list of your logins and passwords for the websites you use.
How to Protect Your Financial Information: Quite simply, don’t save your details. It may take you an extra couple of minutes, but it helps to keep your financial information out of unscrupulous hands.
And if you really struggle to remember your passwords, set up a password manager. This is a place where you can store all your logins. And it’s secure – only accessed by multifactor authentication.
4| Not Keeping Software Up-to-Date
Another way hackers can access your financial details is through out-of-date software. Given time, they spot and exploit weaknesses. That’s why operating systems and app providers recommend regular updates.
How to Protect Your Financial Information: Keep software updated across all your devices – that means your smartphone too. Also, keep virus protection software updated. This will help to keep your devices and your financial information safe.
5| Using Public Networks and Computers
Run out of data or battery? That’s when you might find yourself using a public computer or Wi-Fi network.
Why is it a risk? Public computers are used by lots of people every day. If you save login details, you may be giving them the information they need to access your accounts. And you never know whether a public computer has adequate virus protection.
Public Wi-Fi networks are easily accessed by hackers. Some hackers even set up fake networks. If you access the internet through one of, these, your information is made even more vulnerable.
How to Protect your Financial Information: Avoid making purchases or banking online if you’re using a public network or computer. Wait till you have data, or you’re back home to manage your finances.
If you’re leaking your financial information, take steps to plug those leaks today. You and your bank balance will be happier for it.
Ariana Williams is a pedagogy graduate, an avid blogger with a knack for writing, and a huge fan of interesting side hustles and smart saving tips. Whenever not tutoring children or writing, Ariana might be found spending time with her family. Feel free to say ‘hi’ to her: @AriWilliamsAri.