Your digital presence is added on to everyday. Our regular day to day activities leave a trail behind us, it’s as simple as a phone call, credit card swipe, website click, etc. Service providers want your data and will get as much of it as they can. Service providers goals are to collect and monetize information about your technology habits, purchases and more.

You may be aware of how some of this data is used. For instance, advertisements of that website you bought a shirt from a couple days ago. You may even get a retailer to send you a discount code to entice you to buy that shirt you left in your cart yesterday. This may seem harmless, but your personal data can be shared around. This is being done with out your knowledge or consent. You don’t want to get caught in a loop that your sensitive information is involved in this sharing.

  • Security and Privacy
    • There is a difference of what data security is and what data privacy is. Data security is relating to the tool that is used to protect your data from external attackers. “We typically think of security as being that front-line perimeter for us,” says Raymond James Chief Privacy Officer Rob Patchett. “Data privacy is more concerned with lawful collection and use of one’s personal information.”
    • Any company that you are providing and trusting with your personally identifiable information should have a robust policy to enhance your privacy and your security.
    • What is personal identifiable information:
  • Your name
  • Date of birth
  • Home address
  • Personal email address
  • Social Security or Medicare number
  • Identification cards such as a driver’s license or passport
  • Financial, credit and debit account numbers
  • Medical information and health records

Though the company that you trust should have strict protocols and security settings, there are steps that you can take to protect your own digital information. There are some tips to financial privacy protection. Here’s a guide for you to get started:

  • Review your Financial Statements
    • As soon as your financial statements arrive, ensure legitimacy by looking at the transactions on your bank, brokerage and credit card statements.
    • *Tip: Request paperless delivery when ever it is possible to provide easy and timely access to your important documents.
  • Update your Contact Information
    • Ensure your financial institution at all times has your updated mailing address, email address and any other important contact information.
  • Secure Confidential Documents
    • May sound simple, but keep your financial documents in a secure place. This will prevent theft, viruses, or any type of technology failures. Ask your financial advisor to have help in getting access to tools that will secure your digital files.
  • Don’t Respond to Requests for Personal Information
    • One of the most common ways that criminals will get your personal information is through impersonating legitimate organizations through emails, text messages or advertisement. If you receive something that is questionable, call your financial advisor or the bank/credit card company, etc. This will help you confirm with whom you are speaking.
    • *Tip: If you use Gmail, the small downward-facing arrow beside the “to” field will reveal whether an email was received through an encryption method.
  • Check for Secure Websites
    • When you begin the login process for your financial accounts, quickly check to see if the log in page is secured.  There should be a security protocol in the browser address “https” rather than “http”. Secured sites will also have a closed padlock icon in the URL. If you even click this padlock, it will confirm the identity of the site.
  • Enable Multi- Factor Authentication (MFA)
    • You may already realize that many institutions require this safety measure. But always turn on MFA if there is a choice. This means that you will provide an additional verification method such as a text, email, or even your fingerprint on your phone when you log in. Patchett adds, “Really make sure you’ve got a strong password in place, and don’t use the same password with your other accounts.”
  • Ask the Question
    • Your financial advisor is here to help, they can provide you with more information about your data privacy policies. You can also find many accounts protection plans on an organization website. This is all just one small step that you can do to stay informed about the use of your personal data.

Your trusted financial institutions should have solid privacy protocols in place. But you can take steps to protect sensitive information on your end, too.