Online Safety for Investors

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Do you enjoy the convenience of investing online? If so, here’s a question: which of the following precautions is the most helpful in protecting your investment information?

  1. Long passwords containing letters and numbers that you change frequently.
  1. Logging out of a site using the log-out button instead of simply closing your web browser.
  1. Not accessing personal financial information via public computers and wireless hotspots.
  1. Using anti-virus and anti-spyware software together with a firewall.

Think they’re equally important? You’re right. All these safeguards can help protect your personal information.

Additional precautions include:

  • Deleting emails requesting personal information. Unencrypted email is not secure and legitimate financial sites never ask for personal information this way.
  • Always checking that a site is secure. Indicators include a closed padlock in your browser’s status bar and/or a web site address ending in “s” (such as https).
  • Keeping security software updated. Hackers, phishers and other Internet thieves change tactics quickly. Download the latest updates to your security programs on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in learning more, the government initiated a program called On Guard Online to help you become knowledgeable about online safety. A survey conducted prior to the program’s launch showed most people agreed that keeping their online information safe was a top priority, but many did little to protect themselves. That could be a costly mistake.

Employing the same common sense and vigilance you use in all your financial dealings is the best way to take control of your online investing experience.

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