The online world is full of opportunities but also risks. This is especially true when it comes to managing your finances. Everybody has an acquaintance who has an acquaintance who was scammed and lost a fortune. This is no urban legend, either. During the third quarter of 2022, about 15 million data records were exposed, an increase of 37% from the previous quarter.
But money management online is not necessarily related to malware, hackers,, and other unsavory elements. You may have chosen a sub-par e-wallet that charges high fees, or end up with subscriptions you didn’t want for online magazines or services. You can also spend hours playing the top games at your favorite online casino without realizing you spent a fortune.
While the possibilities are endless, here are three important considerations anyone needs to take into account when it comes to online money management.
1- Keep Your Software Updated
This is overlooked by many, and it’s a source of potential catastrophe. You should always check that your operating system is up-to-date, especially when it comes to security features. Not only that, but you should also check that your antivirus and other security software are updated regularly.
If you think that you should check this just once in a while, think again. There are hacking communities where the latest vulnerabilities are shared, and possibly exploited. This means that any new software release might have issues even from day one. Always check for updates.
2- Use Two-factor Authentication
Yes, it’s a drag. Two-factor authentication requires you to not only enter your password but also confirm your identity in another way. Sometimes it’s an SMS or an Authorization app; other times it’s via an email-sent code.
Even though it’s a cumbersome process, it’s very unlikely that unauthorized parties will be able to defeat this feature. They would need physical access to your device to breach this security method, so it’s not infallible if your smartphone gets stolen.
Some services enable two-factor authentication by default, but some ask if you’d like to activate it. Always answer “yes” to that prompt. One of the easiest ways to use this method is by downloading one of the aforementioned authentication apps. Instead of waiting for an email or SMS, you can simply launch the app and input the code displayed there.
3- Research Before Investing in Cryptocurrencies, NFT and Other Online Assets
Everybody who is considering jumping on the cryptocurrency bandwagon must take into account many factors before deciding. If you plan on doing this, you need to be thorough in your research. One of the reasons is that cryptos are notoriously volatile. You could buy a promising cryptocurrency today, only to find its value decreased substantially the day after.
You need to ensure the crypto exchange you’re using is reputable and solid. Even then, you can never know for sure if your money is in safe hands. The same goes for NFTs and other hot online assets.
The best course of action is to use a hardware wallet to store your cryptocurrencies. These are generally USB-stick-like devices with enhanced security where you can store your cryptos safely. This way, there’s no chance that shady third parties take your currencies with them as they go down.
Let Common Sense Prevail
The online world is similar to the physical one in many ways, even though it seems miles apart. Use common sense and don’t engage in any activities you wouldn’t in the “real” world.
If something feels fishy or suspicious, stay away, no matter how great the “reward.” And always remember that cybercriminals are waiting for a weakness to strike. Never lower your guard, and get help if you’re not tech-savvy.