Living and making money online often means working from public wifi hotspots. Airport terminals, coworking spaces, and coffee shops all offer mini offices for you to get work done on the road and during your travels, but they also pose a risk to your financial security. Those who are constantly in and out of airports, train stations, and bus terminals also run a greater risk of misplacing items like your phone or wallet. There are a few easy things we all can do to securely manage our money online.
- Don’t access your bank information on public wifi. Because anyone can join public wifi, you don’t know if there are hackers or other people with bad intentions on your same network. Accessing sensitive information such as your bank accounts while on shared, public wifi opens you up to others getting ahold of that information.
- Open up a free Mint account. Mint is a great way to track your money across all your different bank accounts. Instead of logging into four different credit cards, one checking account, two savings accounts, and an investment account, you can link them all to one Mint account which will track your information in real time. This will help you detect fraud or unexpected credit card charges quicker.
- Always tell your banks and credit card companies when you will be traveling to a new country. They will authorize transactions in that country, but notify you and freeze your account if transactions pop up in a country you are not in.
- Turn on push notifications for your banking smartphone apps. Most of us have our phones with us 24/7 and we’ll notice a push notification or a text message much quicker than an email. Allowing your bank to contact you about a fraud alert right away through your phone could save you a major headache if the culprit goes unnoticed for days or weeks before you shut your account down.
- Set strong passwords for all your banking accounts. Many online services, especially banks and others who hold our secure information, have indicators when you’re creating your password telling you how strong it is. Don’t let laziness let you create a password that just as easy for you to remember as it is for a hacker to guess.
- Lock your smartphone with a password. Whether it’s a number lock or a pattern lock, make sure you set one up. There’s just too much information on all of our smartphones these days not to have one. If you lose your phone or it gets stolen, someone with bad intentions can access your email, your bank account, your contacts, and your notes which might have passwords in them (which you should also never do).
None of these steps take very much time or effort, but they’ll all go a long way to keeping your money secure.