In today’s world, hacking has increasingly become a fact of life. Passwords are broken, accounts are penetrated, and private information is exploited or leaked. It seems almost no one’s cash is safe. Nevertheless, you may assume you have nothing to worry about if you take care to protect your passwords, credit cards, etc.
Yet you can still be vulnerable, regardless of your own precautions. Your bank or other financial institution could be hacked. Not to mention the fact that virtually every day we hear stories of retailers being compromised, giving identity thieves access to shoppers’ information. Is your money prepared for a cyber attack? Here are a few steps you can take to protect yourself and your finances.
- Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket If you keep all of your money in one bank, and that bank is attacked, you could end up losing everything, or at least a large amount, especially in accounts that aren’t FDIC-insured. Even regular savings and checking accounts are only government-insured up to a certain dollar amount. Per the FDIC, “The standard deposit insurance coverage limit is $250,000 per depositor, per FDIC-insured bank, per ownership category.”
- Think About Smaller Banks Most cyber attacks are launched against big, international banks, since they have more money and more customers for an ambitious hacker to get their hands on. A smaller bank is a less tempting target. Therefore, if you keep your money in a small, local institution, it may be likely to be victimized
- Keep Hard Copies of Online Bill-Paying Information If you have online bill paying set up through your bank, be sure you have a backup of all the information on all accounts you pay. If your account is hacked you could be blocked from accessing the site and your funds indefinitely, which could mean you won’t be able to pay your bills on time. This could result in penalties, disruption of service, dings to your credit rating and more—hassles you don’t need on top of being hacked. But if you have hard copies on hand you can ensure your financial life continues more smoothly.
- Stash Some Cash If you’re blocked from accessing your bank funds you’ll need some cash on hand to cover basic expenses until the problem is resolved. Find places in your home in which to safely put enough cash to get you through a couple of weeks, at least. Put some into a book you never read, a little in an old food package in the pantry, perhaps even some under the mattress. Err on the side of caution. It’s better to have more than you need than not enough. When you’ve got your cash stored safely, leave it alone until you absolutely need it.
- Invest in Gold and Other Physical Assets Cash can get you through a couple of weeks, but it doesn’t work as a long term solution. Inflation means currency loses value over time, so a stash that’s entirely in cash won’t buy as much in the future as it did when you first put it away. It’s always a smart move to put a percentage of your savings into physical gold and silver. Precious metals can’t be hacked. Gold isn’t subject to inflation, and maintains its buying power over time.
These are just a few of the things you can do to protect your money against cyber attack. No matter how prepared you think you are, anybody can be hacked. Even with the most state-of-the-art security measures, you can’t prevent it. All you can do is be ready, so that when the time comes, you don’t lose everything you’ve worked so hard to save up.