Protecting Yourself Online: 3 Easy Steps

The main memories that we carry throughout our life usually revolve around profoundly happy or tragic events. However, some conversations or situations that may seem somewhat trivial, can stick-out in our minds as well. I remember a conversation like that which has etched itself in my long-term memory.

It was my sophomore year of high-school and I was in history class. My best friend Sean came into class eager to tell me about a newly found website. He said the website had “every song you could ever imagine.” This was mind-blowing to us. We had grown up on trips to the music store and CD subscription services like BMG and Columbia House. This new website was like the ultimate jukebox with unlimited quarters and it had a name: Napster.

From that point forward I looked at the internet differently. Suddenly, it wasn’t just a digital library for references that I needed for my high school papers, it was much more. Since that day back in 1999, this digital world has been infiltrating my life and the lives of people across the globe.

This has also been true for pre-retirees and retirees. In 2020, the internet is a place to shop, get news, communicate via email, get updates of grandkids on social media, play games, research a hobby, take educational classes; the list goes on and on. The lockdown measures due to COVID-19 has only increased online traffic. Similar to power tools, like a chainsaw, these digital tools can be dangerous if not used properly.

It is important to understand how to protect yourself and your family in this digital world. Here are 3 ways to take a proactive approach:

Protect Your Data Online – The Federal Trade Commission does a good job of explaining how companies are collecting data when you browse the internet. You can control cookies and the information that is being collected on you by adjusting settings in your web browser. If a website asks your permission, consider denying Analytics cookies, Functional cookies and Targeting cookies. This will reduce the amount of information that is being gathered from your activity.

Consider Your Smartphone a Suspect – I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to how much I rely on my smartphone. However, we must realize that these devices can be constantly listening like Big Brother in Orwell’s classic novel, 1984. There are ways to increase your privacy when it comes to smartphones.

Secure Your Login Information – Unfortunately, we are creatures of habit. Our passwords are typically a handful of words and a specific number sequence we use across many websites. This is not a good approach because once a hacker gets one of our passwords, it is easier for them to raid many others as well. Here are some pragmatic tips for strengthening the walls to your digital fortress.

Our firm logo is the knight chess piece. The role of the knight was to protect and serve the king. That is our role with our clients. Whether it is helping to protect you and your family through the online tips above or by planning for the future, we are here to help. We look forward to helping you with every area that retirement affects through our Retirement Design System. Please give us a call at (863) 304-8959 so we can begin designing a plan to help protect every aspect of your retirement landscape.

The information contained in this material is for informational purposes only. It is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions. Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and J. Biance Financial are not affiliated companies. 724875 – 9/20