how-to-keep-info-safe-from-hackersAccording to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 36 percent of people 50 years and older are victims of identity theft, and 49 percent are victims of fraud. Protect yourself from becoming a statistic; take control of your online security and safeguard your retirement. Staying vigilant about protecting your online information from hackers doesn’t have to be a daunting process. Follow a few key steps to lock down your data and enjoy your retirement with peace of mind.

Add Extra Protection to your Finances

Keep your retirement, banking, pensions and 401k safe by adding extra protection to your account. Ask your various financial institutions about logging into their system with a two-step verification process. This might mean receiving an email or text alert with a specific code before you log in. For example, Fidelity partnered with Symantec for a two-factor authentication where account holders receive a randomly generated code in addition to their username and password. Your bank and credit card companies should also verify your information by phone, in person or have a secure system for logging in online.

Use a Safeguard

Employing every security layer available isn’t always enough to keep your information safe from hackers. You need a system in place to alert you when your information has been misused or compromised. A backup safeguard like Lifelock can monitor your credit and stop identity thieves in their tracks. The company even pledges to spend up to $1 million to hire experts to recover your identity and restore your financial reputation in the case of identity theft.

Protect Your Password

Use a different password for every major account from your retirement assets to social media channels. Relying on the same password for every login makes it easy for hackers to quickly infiltrate all of your accounts. Using your loved ones’ names, a birthdate or an anniversary as your password also makes you vulnerable to hacking. Instead, choose a long, complicated password with a variety of letters, symbols and numbers to make it difficult for hackers to crack.

But safeguarding your online information goes beyond picking a strong password. Beware of email phishing schemes and spam. Emails that look like they come from your bank or retirement advisor could be catastrophic to your online security. These emails are often designed to extract your password. If you get an email with a link asking you to sign into your account, delete it and make a call to the company in question find out if the email was legitimate.

Pick a Secure Connection

The popularity of free Wi-Fi in coffee shops, hotels and even entire towns makes getting online easier than ever. But an open, public Wi-Fi can compromise your online security with a single login. Whenever possible, log in at home with your own private and password-protected connection. When you’re traveling or enjoying a day out, choose a public Wi-Fi provider that requires a password and turn off the connection when not in use. Refrain from logging into any of your financial accounts and consider changing your password once you get home.