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Six Actions You Can Take to Protect Your Personal Information

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Technology has become such a part of our everyday lives that we’ve grown increasingly dependent on it, making use of around-the-clock access to our favorite platforms and services. What does that mean for our security, though? Unfortunately, we’re at an even greater risk for cybercrime than ever before. From websites to email to Wi-Fi and passwords, cybercriminals have more opportunities than ever to gain access to our information.

The Foster & Motley team knows that when it comes to your finances, we can’t be too careful. We regularly evaluate and improve our cybersecurity systems as part of our proactive effort to mitigate risks and keep our clients’ Personal Identifiable Information (PII) safe. We follow best practices and regularly utilize third parties to audit our overall cybersecurity posture. However, our efforts are simply one component of what’s needed to keep you safe - cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility.

So how do you protect yourself from cyber threats? Below are six actions you can take. The first section provides three steps to help you enable proactive protection, and the second section offers three tips focused on keeping you safer while on the go. Beneath that are several additional resources you can access to equip yourself further.


3 Ways to Proactively Protect Yourself

Make sure all of your software is up to date. Keeping the operating systems on your mobile devices, web browsers, and Wi-Fi equipment is critical for security. Here is a list of steps you can take:

  • Check the manufacturer’s website to ensure you use a supported version and have installed the latest security updates.
  • Enable automatic updates for your operating system.
  • Google Chrome and Firefox receive regular updates. You may need to restart your browser to complete the update process.

Use a password manager. Most password managers can automatically generate unique passwords that increase password complexity, enhancing password protection. Beyond that, avoid reusing passwords and be sure to change passwords regularly.

Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). Most cloud-accessible applications offer Multi-Factor Authentication, which adds an extra layer of protection to your online accounts by sending a confirmation request to your mobile device.


3 Ways to Stay Safe On The Go

Avoid scanning publicly available QR codes. Scammers have begun to replace the original QR code with malicious QR codes designed to steal your personal information.

  • Ask for a full menu when dining at restaurants.
  • Visit the website by typing the URL into your web browser.

Be aware of phishing scams. You have probably heard the term “phishing” - the term used to describe scams aimed to trick you into divulging your personal information, such as credit card numbers, checking information, or login ID and passwords to your accounts.

  • Avoid providing personal information or account details over the phone or email. Request a callback number and verify the number before returning the call.
  • Avoid clicking links received by text message.
  • Use caution and inspect links you receive through email.
  • Use caution when manually typing web URLs in your browser. Scammers will create imposter sites designed to look very similar to legitimate websites.

Avoid using public Wi-Fi. When you connect to Wi-Fi networks, you share the same network with everyone around you. It’s almost impossible to know the intent of other users or if someone has connected with an infected device; either scenario could impose risk on your Personal Identifiable Information.


For more information on how to protect your personal information, watch our four-part Cybersecurity Education Series.

To learn more about the cybersecurity protections provided to clients by our trusted custodian, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc., please visit their Security Knowledge Center SchwabSafe®. On SchwabSafe, you will find details of their current cybersecurity efforts to protect your data and practices you can employ to avoid fraud.

Another great resource provided by Schwab includes an all-in-one guide, Tips for Preventing Fraud. The guide offers practical steps to protect yourself, reduce your exposure to fraud, and a glossary of cybersecurity terms.

We acknowledge that cybersecurity can be overwhelming, but protecting your personal information is well worth it. Foster & Motley utilizes a comprehensive approach to keeping your information safe, but it doesn’t stop with us.