Boost your financial security in three easy steps

Account security is once again in the news, and as always, that’s never a good sign. This time it’s the revelation that as many as 500 million Yahoo accounts have been compromised thanks to a massive data hack that may be the largest information security breach of all time.

While you may not be overly concerned about the sanctity of your Yahoo account, the repercussions could be major. Included in the theft were names, passwords, birthdates, and even personal security questions and answers. In other words, they stole information that could easily be used to access additional accounts.

These major data breaches are always a good time to remind folks just how important it is to keep your information safe. Whether or not you’ve ever had a Yahoo account, consider taking a few simple measures to increase your personal information security.

Have you changed your password recently?

It’s a pain and no likes to do it, but changing your password regularly can make all the difference, especially if you have the unfortunate habit of using the same password across multiple accounts. If you’ve been meaning to do it, wait no longer – create those new passwords today.

Consider where you’re logging in

Free or public WiFi can be a godsend, but be careful – the internet connection available at Starbucks or your local library often isn’t secured in the same manner as your home internet. This means that you should avoid transmitting sensitive information (including credit card numbers, passwords, and personal ID info) while using an unsecured internet connection. Save it for when you get back home or have access to a secured connection.

Read your monthly statements

If your personal information has been compromised, one of the first warning signs will likely be strange activity on your various financial accounts. That’s why it’s important that you closely monitor your accounts – your bank accounts, as well as any credit accounts you may have.

Read your statements each month. If available, consider downloading your financial institutions mobile app, so you can review your account activity whenever you like. Don’t assume everything is okay just because nothing bad has happened. Stay sharp and pay attention. The sooner you realize that something is wrong, the easier it will be for you to get it fixed.

Jesse Campbell is the Content Manager at MMI. All typos are a stylistic choice, honest.

  • The Consumer Federation of America (CFA) is an association of nonprofit consumer organizations that was established in 1968 to advance the consumer interest through research, advocacy, and education. Today, nearly 300 of these groups participate in the federation and govern it through their representatives on the organization's Board of Directors.
  • The National Council of Higher Education Resources (NCHER) is the nation’s oldest and largest higher education finance trade association. NCHER’s membership includes state, nonprofit, and for-profit higher education service organizations, including lenders, servicers, guaranty agencies, collection agencies, financial literacy providers, and schools, interested and involved in increasing college access and success. It assists its members in shaping policies governing federal and private student loan and state grant programs on behalf of students, parents, borrowers, and families.

  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.