Tragically, one of our customers recently told us about a couple who lost their entire life savings in a wire fraud scam. Believing they were sending their money to a title company, they wired $500,000.00 to someone in Jamaica. This is a tragic example of how important it is to call your title or escrow company to verify where you should be sending funds. Unfortunately, these types of scams are on the rise. As a result, we all need to be aware of this type of scam as well as other fraud relative to digital and wire security. For tips about wire security, please click here to read our post about how to avoid wire fraud.
Here are other digital security tips designed to keep you and your bank account safe in 2020 and beyond:
A hacker’s job is to crack computer passwords to access sensitive files and data. Once they obtain the password, they can do malicious things to the information stored in an account. Or worse, they may be able to harm the accounts of other people who share computer networks. So, the argument— “I don’t need a secure password because I don’t store important information in my account”— won’t fly. Passwords are usually the weakest security link within an organization’s network. Don’t fall victim to cybercrime. Create a secure password:
- Don’t use dictionary or foreign words, names, doubled names or first/last names and initials.
- Don’t use simple transformations of words (7eleven, seven11, etc.) or any alphabet or keyboard sequence (backwards or forwards).
- Don’t use your user ID in any form (as-is, reversed, capitalized, doubled, etc.).
- Don’t reuse old passwords. Instead, choose a completely new password every time you change it.
- Don’t use short words (less than 8 characters), phone numbers, birth dates, social security numbers or numbers substituted for letters (like a zero instead of the letter O).
- Don’t use ‘password’ as your password. (Believe it or not, statistics show that up to 70% of all user-passwords are the word ‘password.)
- Don’t tape the password under the keyboard or anywhere else on the computer, the computer’s desk or in an unlocked file cabinet. Mischievous people will look for your password in these places like a thief looks for a key under the front doormat.
- Choose a phrase, and then use the first letters (‘A stitch in time saves nine’ would be ‘asits9’).
- Use a password that has at least two alphabetic characters (a-z, A-Z) and at least one numeric (0-9) or special (punctuation) character. Always use a mixture of upper- and lowercase characters.
- Choose a password that is easy to remember, so you don’t have to write it down.
- Select a password that you can quickly type. This keeps people from discovering your password by watching you type it.
- Change your password often—at least once every three months.
- Implement a password-protected screen saver in case you must leave your workstation without first logging off. When possible, log off or lock your workstation by using CTRL + ALT + DEL.
Smartphone saturation in the United States surpassed 80 percent of the population way back in 2016. Hackers are targeting secure data stored on handheld devices. Keep your data safe:
- Malicious people could gain physical access to your smartphone or tablet. Malicious people are rude. Someone has to say it! Protect your device with a password and run apps such as Android Lost or Find My iPhone to help recover lost or stolen smartphones.
- Malicious emails and text messages can infect your smartphone with malware. To prevent this, periodically run anti-virus software on your device.
- The camera and microphone on your smartphone can be remotely activated. Do not take a smartphone near classified information and remove the battery before discussing sensitive information.
- Wireless networks may be insecure and subject to monitoring. Use VPN when accessing wireless networks and do not access sensitive information over shared wireless networks. Turn off Bluetooth when you are not using it, to prevent hackers from exploiting your device.
About Exact Escrow in La Verne, California
When it comes time to choose an escrow company, please consider Exact Escrow Inc. We are a full-service independent escrow company dedicated to exceeding our client’s every expectation. Our goal at Exact Escrow Inc. is to make sure even your most complicated transaction closes smoothly and efficiently. Call today to speak directly to an escrow officer (909) 542-1062.