How to protect your identity and digital financial life ?

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How to protect your identity and digital financial life ?
Today, life is digitally wired and hyper-connected in a way that digital foot printing is almost inescapable. Our day starts when phone alarm beeps us in the morning, Facebook chats and routine office work happen almost simultaneously and banking transactions are just clicks away. In this daily hustle bustle, we overlook the potential danger of being a victim of identity theft, which is on a rise in India in the wake of increasing adaptation to the internet. Here are measures to protect your identity and digital financial life.

Identity Protection

As the efforts to outmaneuver identity thieves evolve, so do the thieves' tactics. These preventive measures will ensure that your digital life is safe and secure:

Buy security software that updates automatically

Make sure that the security software, operating system and browsers on your computer are up-to-date. You can usually set these programs to update automatically.

Take back-up on external hard drive for data storage

Back-up your computer data to an external hard drive. You may also want to consider printing off your most important files, such as financial documents, so if your digital copies are compromised, you'll have hard copies.

Keeping it ‘in the cloud'

Like your laptop, computer or Smartphone, external hard drives are vulnerable to fire, theft or other threats. Rather take a back-up of the data to an online data storage server, also known as "Cloud storage" - means that it is protected no matter what happens to your home.

Strengthen your passwords 

Never use the same password for more than one login account and never keep Smart phones unlocked. Be creative with your passwords and never save it onto your laptop or Smart phones.

Encrypt your data

Always do online transactions by using an encrypted, secure connection. Not sure if a site is encrypted? Check your browser's status bar. A "lock" symbol means that your data can be safely exchanged. Be aware and avoid making financial transactions on a public wireless (WiFi) networks; an unsecured and open network means anyone can see what data you send and receive.

Switch on alerts

Take full advantage of banking services by subscribing to mobile and email alerts for every time banking or credit card transactions happen. This will keep you aware of any unauthorized transaction.

Trash carefully

Be vigilant while destroying documents containing personal details. It is advised to shred these documents completely before putting it in a trash bin.

The primary concern is that criminals might take your identity details to create a new profile, apply for loans and products in your name, which could land you up in encounters with debt collectors, court actions and bad credit status. Yet, as long as we take sensible precautions ourselves, the risks are limited.

About the Author:

Reenika is a Certified Financial Planner and has more than 6 years of experience in the financial service industry. She can be reached at

Read more about: security, digital finance
Story first published: Saturday, June 8, 2013, 10:47 [IST]
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