As the world becomes more digitized, online security is more important than ever. However, an experienced accountant can tell you that many companies are not proactive at staying one step ahead of identity thieves. As a result, their consumers’ personal and financial information is vulnerable to hacking. Although there is no foolproof way to avoid identity theft, there are steps you can take to reduce the chance that identity thieves will target you.
5 Tips From an Accountant for Protecting Your Financial Information
1. Store Personal Documents Safely
You probably already know that you should not keep your Social Security card in your wallet, but that is not the only document worth protecting. Consider purchasing a small safe in which to store all of your private documents, including your birth certificate and passport, and keep copies in a safety deposit box at your local credit union.
2. Review Accounts Monthly
Check all of your bank accounts and credit card statements monthly for any charges that you do not recognize. Since most credit cards provide a considerable amount of consumer protection, you should use a credit card for all purchases, then pay it off at the end of the month. A credit card provides you with an added layer of protection because it is not linked directly to any cash like a debit card is.
3. Change Passwords
Do not use the same password across all of your accounts, and do not use passwords that are composed of simple words and number sequences. Instead, opt for a random combination of numbers, letters, and signs, and change your passwords at least once a year across all accounts.
4. Do Not Share Personal Information With Unverified Sources
If you receive an email or phone call from a lending institution, do not provide any personal information without verifying the source first. You can do this by going to the institution’s website, finding their contact information, and calling or emailing them directly, so you know you are talking to a legitimate company representative.
5. Monitor Your Credit Score
Most banks allow their customers to check their credit score for free, so take advantage of these services. Check your score every month, so if someone does end up stealing your identity, you will notice it before they cause irreparable damage.
You can also avoid identity theft by turning to a reliable professional for all of your bookkeeping needs. If you want to protect your financial information come tax time, contact a certified public accountant at Burch & Associates, Inc. in Lincoln, NE. Whether you own a small business or need to file a personal tax return, an accountant on their team will be happy to help. Visit their website to learn more about the secure tax services they provide, or call (402) 483-4791 to schedule a consultation today.