Technology to keep your money safe
Nowadays, a clever thief no longer needs to hit the streets in search of pockets to pick. Instead, they can do their evil deeds while sat on the sofa in their pyjamas with a laptop. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to make life more difficult for these computer crooks. Here are some technological solutions for keeping your money safe.
Get a malware scanner
Malware is exactly as dodgy as it sounds. It’s a malicious programme that’ll somehow install itself on your computer—usually without you knowing—and get up to all sorts of mischief. Many thieves like to use malware to get to your money, such as by harvesting your internet banking details.
An easy-to-use malware scanner, such as Malwarebytes, will scan your computer and obliterate any malware it finds. While it’s worth running one of these periodically, it’s a must if you're about to sign up for online banking.
Use a password manager
It’s all very well saying that every password should be strong and unique, but no one’s memory is that good. So consider using a password manager. Not only will it remember all your passwords; most will generate strong passwords whenever you need one. And if you use one that’s embedded into a web browser, such as Chrome or Safari, it will even remember where you use each password and fill it in automatically. It's also advisable to regularly change your password, never re-using old ones. This is where a password generator comes in really handy!
Put your face and fingerprints to work
Of course, if you’re going to use a password manager, it’ll only be as secure as the device on which it is installed. Although you’ll still need to set up and remember strong passwords for your devices, you won’t need to enter it every time if you also set up fingerprint or facial recognition. That way, you’ll be able to unlock your device with just a look or a touch—and you’ll still have the security of that strong password.
Use secure Wi-Fi networks for sensitive activities
It’s hard to avoid using public Wi-Fi from time to time—but beware of the risks. With open networks, you don’t know who else might be connected—a fraudster could be looking out for useful nuggets of data coming through that network. Worse, the hotspot itself might have been set up to lure people into using it to share private information, only to steal it with malicious software. So, if you’re doing anything you don’t want a criminal to see, use a secure Wi-Fi network.
Use a digital payment service
This is a great way to add a layer of security and convenience to online purchases, as they’ll usually require a password or facial/fingerprint recognition for every payment.
But be sure to use one that utilises two-factor authentication for added security, such as PayPal or Google Wallet. And only link a digital payment service to your debit card, not to your sort code and account number, so you can cancel your card should your account ever get compromised.
Get control over your cards
In the smartphone age, there are plenty of apps for that. For instance, take Curve, a single debit card that can link to all of your existing credit and debit cards, so you need only carry your Curve card. That means if you happen to lose your wallet or purse, the rest of your cards will still be safe at home. The companion app doesn’t just let you choose which of your linked cards to pay with, it also allows you to freeze your Curve card immediately if it goes missing and sends you alerts for every payment, so you can quickly spot any mysterious goings-on. Now that’s a cool card.
Even with all these tech tools, there’s always the chance that a clever crook will find a way past it. And if they do, it’ll be handy to find out as soon as possible so you can limit the damage they can do.
Fortunately, most banks now offer to send your free alerts whenever they detect unusual or suspicious activity on your accounts. So, be sure to set these up by either calling your bank or logging in online—it could save you a lot of hassle.
Invest in all-round cyber protection
If you're not sure where to start, you could do worse than investing in a service that'll cover most of your bases. Europ Assistance, for instance, offers a solution that includes fraud prevention software featuring phishblocking, data scrambling and secure browsing; private data monitoring; suspicious activity alerts and risk reports; and even 24/7 assistance for the unlikely event that something should go wrong. Not to mention: peace of mind.