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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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Message 11 of 25

I imagine you don't want me to say, just put the password on a sticky note on your computer and you'll be fine!? Ha.

We are all overwhelmed with passwords and a password manager might be a good solution for you. As the name suggests, a password manager helps you easily create, store and remember passwords. Many of them are both a website and an app, so you have access to all your passwords regardless of what device you’re on. Many of them are free. In most cases, you set up an account by providing your name, email address and a “master” password to enter your digital locker. Often times people worry about what would happen if their phone or tablet would get lost or stolen, wouldn't the criminal then have access to all their passwords. You need not worry about this, as your device has to be unlocked first — that is, a person would first need to know your PIN or password — and then guess your master password, too, which is highly unlikely, unless you make it easy like 1111 (please don’t use that). And since you can log on to your password manager from virtually any device, you can log in from another machine and change your master password — just in case.

If a password manager doesn't seem like something you would be willing to try, I think two-factor authentication is a good solution as well. Two-factor authentication, is a security process in which the user provides two different factors to verify themselves to better protect both the user's credentials and the resources the user can access. So it could be you need to enter a password for the first step and then answer a secret question for the second step.

 


Amy, another question comes to mind. What’s the best way to create and keep track of passwords?  Isn’t it easier to simply use the same one for everything?

 

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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Message 12 of 25

Most banks and credit card companies will allow you to set up alerts on your accounts so you can be texted or emailed anytime a charge is placed on your account that goes over your desired threshold of spending. You can set that at any amount. For some folks that's not reasonable to be texted every time they spend more than $50 to confirm the charge. Each person needs to do what's best for them and fits in their lifestyle.

 

Additionally, most banks and credit cards companies know your spending patterns (all by an algorithm), so if they detect a suspicious charge or something that doesn't fit your normal spending they will send you an alert to confirm. This happened to me one time when I was in New York City and my kids wanted a soft pretzel, I guess I don't normally buy this type of item, so I got an alert asking if I made the charge. I thought it was funny to be notified about a pretzel, but just shows you it works. 

 

If you are interested in this type of service, talk to your bank and/or credit card to see how you can set it up.


Do most credit card companies have alerts like this in place or did you have to subscribe/enable these alerts?

 

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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Message 13 of 25

Amy, another question comes to mind. What’s the best way to create and keep track of passwords?  Isn’t it easier to simply use the same one for everything?

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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Message 14 of 25

Amy, what a coincidence! That’s great your bank is so on top of things. Do most credit card companies have alerts like this in place or did you have to subscribe/enable these alerts?

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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Message 15 of 25

Great question, I was just talking to someone who called the AARP Fraud Helpline about this risk!

 

When you are on public Wi-Fi, which is a usually found, for free, at a coffee shop, mall, airport, or other public place, you may be putting your personal information at risk, especially if you are inputting credit card numbers, passwords or bank account information. Hackers will often sit near these Wi-Fi spots and hack into the Wi-Fi to steal any information that is transmitted through. This actually happened to me a while back. We were in Vegas and I needed to check in for my flight and purchase a seat. I knew I was taking a risk, but went ahead and did it anyways, hoping for a good outcome. Nope, within one hour I was getting calls from my credit card company that my card was being used across the country. Don't take the risk. If you must do some sort of personal transaction on free Wi-Fi use your cell service, it's safer than free Wi-Fi for sure!

 

 

Here are some more tips on keeping your safe while being online from AARP Fraud Watch Network: Public Wi-Fi Scams

 


Thank you, Amy. This brings me to another question. Why is using Wi-Fi in public spaces like coffee shops and airports risky?  What should you do instead?

 

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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Thank you, Amy. This brings me to another question. Why is using Wi-Fi in public spaces like coffee shops and airports risky?  What should you do instead?

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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The new credit law, which took effect last year, made it so anyone in the country can get a free credit freeze – including children and incapacitated adults (many of whom do not have credit files).  On the credit freeze websites, for example, you’ll see options to either place the freeze for yourself or on behalf of another person. Some people chose not to take the risk of having to send in originals copies of important documents like birth certificate and Social Security card. But each person looking to do that for the minors in their life will need to make the decision that is best for them.

 



@anofziger17, thanks for the tips on setting up a fraud alert and placing a freeze on credit. Does the point about a credit freeze even apply to children under 18?


 

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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@anofziger17, thanks for the tips on setting up a fraud alert and placing a freeze on credit. Does the point about a credit freeze even apply to children under 18?

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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Message 19 of 25

Great question and sadly many of us have been affected in breaches. First I would consider placing a fraud alert on your credit report. A fraud alert is free and good for one year and you need to make one phone call to one of the three major credit reporting agencies. A fraud alert can make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. They will have to notify you first before opening up new credit. The reason I recommend this as a first step is that it's a fairly simple step to take if you are in the midst of finding out your information has been breached and the potential for fraud is high. After this, consider placing a freeze on your credit. Also known as a security freeze, this free tool lets you restrict access to your credit report, which in turn makes it more difficult for criminals to open new accounts in your name. That’s because most creditors need to see your credit report before they approve a new account. If they can’t see your report, they may not extend the credit.

 

For more information about both of these options, visit https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0497-credit-freeze-faqs

 



Amy, @anofziger17, can you tell us the steps a person should take if they suspect they’ve been compromised in a data breach? Thank you!


 

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Re: Ask The Expert: How can I protect my savings/my digital identity?

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Message 20 of 25

Amy, @anofziger17, can you tell us the steps a person should take if they suspect they’ve been compromised in a data breach? Thank you!

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