Guidance

RESOURCES TO HELP SHAPE YOUR FINANCIAL FUTURE

With warnings from the IRS about thieves stealing tax refunds from unwitting taxpayers and a raft of well-publicized data breaches at retailers and banks, cyber security registers high on the minds of many investors. Here are some ways you can guard your banking and credit information from cyber thieves.

Be careful when logging in to your online banking account
Create a strong, unique password for each account, change it at least every three months, and never log in to your bank account if you are using an unsecured network, such as public Wi-Fi. If you need to check your balance on the go, consider setting up text message commands with your financial institution or opt to disconnect your Wi-Fi connections and use your data instead.

Do not give out account information
Only give your account information when absolutely necessary—and never over the phone—unless you are certain the company you are providing it to is legitimate.

Watch out for email phishing attempts
Be suspicious of emails that instructs you to click a link and log into your account. If you get an email that urges you to log in to your account, open a new browser window, go to your bank's website by typing the URL into the browser address bar directly, and log in there to check for a problem. You can also call your bank's customer service to inquire about any potential issues with your account.

Beware of text message phishing
Also known as "smishing", if you receive a text urging you to call a number or click a link in regard to your account, be suspicious. Instead of calling the number provided, find your bank's customer service number, and call that to verify the legitimacy of the text.

Verify your banking app before downloading
Many banks offer mobile apps, which is convenient but also presents potential security issues. It is important to ensure that the app you are downloading is the official app from your bank, rather than a third-party app created by a scammer to steal your information. Also, some of the official apps have had security flaws that require new versions to patch, so heed their requests to update promptly.

Monitor your statements
Checking statements means you are far more likely to notice any suspicious activity on your accounts—and the earlier you can catch fraud, the easier it is to stop it and reverse any damage. Be sure to shred mail from your bank before it goes into the trash.

Perform regular credit checks
A regular credit check allows you to see any major changes to your credit file. If you notice unauthorized access or new accounts in your name, you have a right to correct the information without charge.

To learn more about security measures, you can take to protect yourself, talk with your Wintrust Wealth Management professional.