Have you ever had your identity stolen online? I have and trust me, it sucks.
In today’s episode, I share a bunch of tips on how you can keep your financial data safe.
When it comes to your money, you want to make sure that you are keeping it safe. Now I have actually had my identity stolen online and trust me, it sucks. So in today’s episode of the podcast, I’m going to be sharing with you a bunch of tips about how you can keep your financial data safe online.
Hello, and welcome to The Clare Wood podcast, where myself and incredible guests share about money mindset, financial successes, and how to manage your money in a fun and practical way to create wealth and abundance in both your business and your life. I’m your host, Clare Wood. I’m a business coach and a money mentor. I strongly believe that money has the power to positively change the world. I can’t wait to help you transform your mindset around money, create a love of numbers and build the business of your dreams so you can live a life of financial freedom, giving and global impact.
Something that I want to share before I dive into the episode is that financial theft can happen to anyone. Now I’m a trained accountant, I’ve obviously even studied through university about keeping financial information safe. And like I shared in the intro, I have had my identity stolen. This has made me even more conscious about keeping my financial information and data safe.
Today I’m going to share with you some of the hacks that I have, that you can use for keeping your business information and personal information safe.
Being careful about what you share online
The first tip that I have is to be careful about what you share online. Now, you will know that I’m a big believer in sharing about your financial success. I’m not talking about that, but what I am talking about is making sure that people can’t access any of your money or your financial information. Part of that is making sure that you are careful about the information that you do share online.
A couple of things that I would really recommend that you do not share online. Firstly, your home address. Quite asides from keeping your financial data safe, you probably don’t want your followers online knowing where you live. So make sure that you don’t share your address or any identifying visuals about your house. It’s best not to show the front of your house or your neighborhood. As if people do know the general area that you live in, it might be easy for them to conclude which one your house is.
Another thing that you should protect very fiercely is your date of birth. The reason for this, when you think about it and you ring a bank or a utilities’ company, what’s the information that they ask you to verify your identity? Usually it’s your name, your address and your date of birth.
And if you think that a financial institution can use that to verify you, then if someone had access to that information, then they would be able to be talking to a financial institution about your private information and possibly be able to steal money from your account. A tip that I’ve got here, I actually have a fake date of birth that I give out to almost everyone, except of course, where it’s legally required. So for example, if I’m going to get a massage and they ask for my date of birth on the intake form, they don’t need my real date of birth. It’s just a local massage place. So I use the fake one. I use it a lot with people that I don’t know. If someone ever asked me my date of birth and it wasn’t legally required. Obviously, if you are talking to the police or your bank or anything like that, please make sure you do use your real one. But I’m talking about people who really do not need to have that information. Just think very carefully about what it is that they can do with that information.
Another thing that I do is that I have a virtual office that I hire. For example, if people want to send me things in the mail, they can send it to the office, which then on forwards it to me rather than my home address. Now, maybe having a virtual office isn’t an option for you, but just be very careful when you are sharing any of this personal information with people, particularly people that you don’t know.
And it’s important to be conscious about this all the time. I know that sometimes websites will ask you for your date of birth and a lot of personal information. For example, if you are looking at an online horoscope, they might ask you, what’s your date of birth. Now I would just be very, very careful about this, because again, you don’t know who is behind the website. And even if the website itself is legitimate, the fact that you are sharing it online means that other people could potentially see that information.
Another tip that I’ve got is that if people ever phone you and ask for confidential information, always ring back their head office yourself. So quite often you might get a phone call from, I don’t know, the tax office or your phone company. And they’ll say, “I need to talk to you about something, but before we can go ahead, can I please verify your name, address, and date of birth?” And as soon as someone asks me that information, I say, “Well, I will call the company back direct and share that information with a verified phone number.” Now sometimes, and this has happened to me, the person on the other end of the line can get quite pushy with you and saying, “I need to verify your identity now.” They might threaten or say, “There’s been a data breach on your account,” and it can seem a little bit scary. But to be honest, if someone’s being pushy like that, I would be even more careful about sharing the information. Always call a company back direct. I know that a lot I’ve been talking about your personal information here, but that is very closely related to your business. And of course, if your personal identity is compromised, that will have a big knock on effect to your business. As someone who has had their identity stolen, trust me, it flows through to many different areas and can be a very frustrating process.
Another tip is, keeping your financials safe is to make sure that you have an up-to-date virus protector on your computer and a firewall option. It’s very important to make sure that this is up to date as new viruses are being created all the time. Make sure you have up-to-date virus protection.
How to protect passwords, especially when you have a team
The next tip I have for keeping your money safe is to protect all of your internal passwords from the team. Now, this can feel a little bit uncomfortable, particularly when you have people in the team that you very much trust. But when it comes to your money and financial information, you just can’t be too safe. And even if you do trust your team completely, it is better that you don’t even question whether it was them that shared that information, because if they don’t have access to it, then you’re never going to be questioning whether it was them that shared your password or broke into your account.
I suggest that you use a password sharing program that is safe. The one that I use is LastPass, but I would really recommend that you do your own research and find one that works for you. With a password sharing platform like this, this way, people inside your team can’t see the passwords that they set up. They are sent a link and able to access the programs through the link only. What this means is that at any point in time, you can withdraw their access immediately and you can change your passwords so that they can’t get into your account. I would also set up double authentications on any payment platforms.
So in my business, I use things like Stripe and PayPal. And because I have double authentication set up, if someone in my team is accessing it, there is a notification sent to me, which is just an extra step to keep your financial information safe. Now, even the people in your finance team, I would really recommend that you do not share passwords with them. Your accountant, your bookkeeper, set them up as their own user within your accounting program, rather than giving them your password. Again, it’s just better to be safe than sorry when it comes to these things.
On the subject of passwords, make sure that you do not have the same password for everything. This was something that I used to do back in day. I had one password that I used for everything, and now I mix them up and I’m constantly changing them. It’s just an extra step in keeping things secure. And like I said earlier, make sure you are using multifactor authentication where available as well.
The pitfalls of using public wifi and why you should avoid it
The next point is a very important one, which is, do not use public wifi. Now I know it can be tempting these days when you see the free wifi pop up, but just be really careful. Because when you are on a public platform, you do open yourself up to more possibility of people being able to access what you are viewing on your computer. I would particularly avoid if you are doing banking or anything else to do with payment systems, or if you are logged into your password sharing platform. In my opinion, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and just don’t use it.
I personally always hotspot off my phone if I’m out and about and working somewhere other than my home office. The final, and I believe best way to keep your information safe is by being right across your numbers. In big organizations, this is one of the tools that they use constantly to make sure that money isn’t being stolen or that important information isn’t being compromised.
Being in the detail of your money and your financials means that you know what is going on. It allows you to identify if something looks a little bit unusual and it’s also very important, even when you have a team of experts, whether it’s your accountant or your bookkeeper, that you really still do stay in the detail of your money.
Now, I know we’d really like to think that we can trust accountants and bookkeepers, but sometimes things do happen. Your best protection is really being in the detail yourself and making sure that you are savvy when it comes to your own money and knowing your numbers.
To sum up today, anyone can have their financial integrity in their business or their personal life compromised. It is very important to put measures in place to keep your information as safe as possible. To sum up the tips that I shared today:
- Be careful about what you share online, particularly be very careful with your home address and date of birth.
- Ensure that you have sufficient antivirus software and firewalls set up.
- Protect all of your internal passwords, including protecting them from your team. Make sure that you are constantly changing your passwords and using multifactor authentication where it’s available.
- Don’t use public wifi, especially if you are doing banking or anything related to your financials or any other confidential financial information in your business.
- The best protection you have for keeping your financial information safe is being right across your numbers, being in the details.
When it comes to keeping your money safe, it is better to be safe than sorry. If you enjoyed this episode and you think your audience would benefit from this information, please make sure you share the episode with them and make sure you tag me so I can say thank you. Have an awesome week, and I look forward to chatting to you again next week.
Thanks so much for listening. If you loved this episode, please share it with your audience. And don’t forget to tag me on Instagram at @clare_wood_coach. And also make sure you hit subscribe so you never miss an episode. Have an abundant week, and I look forward to talking to you again next week.