Many of us no longer find it surprising when there’s a new report in the news about a major company having a data breach. According to Money Control, 2,059 cases of cyber fraud were reported between 2017-2018. That’s nearly three breaches per day!

Just think of all the transactions you make daily. Nearly all of them involve a digital process with your personal information. It’s never been more critical to protect your sensitive financial data. Managing your money wisely doesn’t just consist of creating a budget and tracking your dollars. You should also be proactive about the security of your money in the digital age. Any mistakes may cost you time, money, and sanity. 

Fortunately, with a little planning, you can prevent a data breach and react quickly if your financial information is compromised. Here are a few simple things you can do to help protect your data.

Only use one card for transactions. 

If you can, dedicate one credit card for all your day-to-day purchases. Then pay it off in full immediately from your checking account. It’s typically easier to get fraudulent charges removed from a credit card than it is from a debit card. If your card information does get compromised, then your bank account is safe.

Upgrade to an EMV chip card. 

Most major banks have already sent out new cards with EMV chip technology. This type of credit or debit card is a more secure way to pay, and you should try to use this method whenever possible.

Don’t click or download unknown content. 

If you don’t know the sender of an email, then don’t open it. Some fraudsters cleverly design emails to look just like legitimate messages. When you open the email, however, you may unintentionally download a virus that can track when you do things like enter a card number into an online shopping site. Check and make sure that the “from” address is from a URL that you know and trust. Remember, if an email looks suspicious it probably is. If you’re not sure and want to investigate further, don’t click any links. Instead, go to a search engine and type in the name of the person or company who emailed you to see if they’re legitimate.

Download apps from the source. 

If you’re downloading a banking app, then click to the app right from their website. Don’t just search the app store and download what looks like theirs. Cybercriminals count on people trusting the presentation of an app which can look legitimate.

Change your passwords every 90 days. 

Most people use passwords that are very easy to guess and use the same password for every account. Keep your passwords written down (yes, on paper) somewhere safe in your home and aim to change them every 90 days. Doing this will make it more difficult for someone to be able to hack into your account.

While there is no perfect system, these simple steps will help you protect yourself, and your money, against financial fraud.