What happens when two great technologies meet? You get the ability to invest your money anytime, anywhere, right from your iPhone. Apps like Apple Pay also make traditional banking, money transfers, and bill paying much more efficient.
While the rise of mobile computing and fintech have made it easier for day traders and investment newbies to get in on the action, it doesn’t come without some risk. Any time you release your personal or financial information out into the ether, you’re making yourself vulnerable to hacks and other exploits.
The Benefits and Dangers of Online Trading
When you’re safe and secure, banking isn’t quite as exciting as it is on TV.
That’s a good thing.
As of 2016, there were more than 4 million households engaged in some form of online trading. Many of these transactions are conducted from and iPhone or other mobile device. There are several advantages that come with online access to banking and trading, not the least of which is convenience.
When you use your iPhone to manage financial accounts, you’ll have the benefit of:
- Lower fees
- Flexibility through 24/7 access
- Real-time monitoring
- Automation and online management/advisory tools
- Escape from broker bias and sales pressure
However, there are also some drawbacks that you should avoid. These include:
- No personal feedback/interaction with brokers
- Temptation to invest too much, too quickly
- Addictive nature of investing
- Strictly internet-based
- Errors due to technical glitches
All of these potential problems and benefits aside, the biggest concern is security. Protecting your identity is essential when you engage in Forex trading or online securities investment. Digital identities can be compromised and used by nefarious third parties with little recourse if taken.
Protecting Your Online Identity
As of 2018, there were approximately 1.4 million fraud reports issued, with about $1.48 billion in financial losses recorded. Those most at risk from this brand of cyber crime are seniors. Only a small fraction of thieves are ever caught and brought to justice. Even when criminals are held accountable legally, the money is rarely recovered.
That means personal security and loss prevention are up to you. Here are a few easy ways you can secure your accounts and identity today.
Encrypt Your Devices and Access Controls
Even if you’re not actively trading, many financial institutions offer some level of online service. The first line of defense is to keep troublemakers out of your accounts to begin with. There are some common sense ways to protect your identity, account information, and location, even when you’re not online.
- Install a VPN on all of your devices and networks
- Avoid using public WiFi whenever possible
- Be aware of your surroundings when you are accessing accounts from a public location
- Use access controls like 2-F authentication and password managers
- Only deal with reputable online trading platforms and secure apps
Use Security Freezes and Fraud Alerts
Because so few hackers are actually ever caught and brought to justice, prevention is a way of proactively protecting your account and identity information. However, there’s always a chance of someone getting access to identifying information despite your best efforts.
You can place a security freeze on your credit reports with all three of the main credit reporting agencies. Doing so will trigger a fraud alert if anyone that you don’t already have a business relationship with tries to access your information or credit reports.
Review Accounts for Unusual Activity
The average hack goes unnoticed for up to six months after it’s initiated. Many people don’t even realize that they’ve been hacked until their account is drained.
By that time, it’s often too late to do anything.
You should review your accounts regularly for inaccuracies or unusual activity. If automation features are available that deploy alerts when your account is accessed from a different location or device, make sure that these features are enabled. Many antivirus, antispyware, and anti-malware apps also have built-in alert mechanisms.
Keep Everything Updated
The average person has so many online accounts, apps, and devices that they use on a daily basis, it’s sometimes difficult to keep track of everything. Hackers don’t have that problem. Their business is crime, and they do their homework. Many keep track of common flaws or lists of most-used passwords, and most professionals cyber criminals are aware of what platforms are vulnerable to hacks.
Some ways that you can avoid this is by enabling automatic updates for security software and apps, keeping your device, firewalls, and networking firmware updated to the latest version, and segmenting networks so that everything isn’t running through the same connection.
Pay Attention to WHom Your Doing Business With
Before you sign up with any type of network service provider, check into their policies about data capture, retention, and use. Some free or budget network providers and apps collect way more information than they need, and they sell it or share with third-parties.
Some best practices include:
- Actually reading your TOS and SLAs
- Asking questions about data collection procedures
- Working with reputable companies
- Backing up all of your information
You work hard for your money. If you want it to continue working for you, it pays to protect your identity when making financial transactions online. Our goal is to provide you with actionable tips that will allow you to build your nest egg with a little more confidence and peace of mind.
Just remember, online safety isn’t a one-and-done prospect. Keep all of your security measures and devices up to date and continue to use common sense whenever you engage in digital commerce.