Cody Sims: Protect your finances online

During times of crisis, cybercriminals often increase their attacks, taking advantage of the chaos to extract information from unsuspecting victims. Here are some steps you can take in these turbulent times to protect your online identity and finances:

1. Create strong passwords. A password is considered strong when it is made up of 10 or more
characters, a combination of upper and lower case letters with at least one number and one symbol.
Cybersecurity experts recommend changing your passwords as often as every three months because
as long as your replacement passwords are strong enough. Consider using a password manager,
making it easier to generate and remember strong passwords.

2. Update your antivirus software. Hackers are constantly looking for ways to gain access to personal information
Informatic Systems. The best antivirus software providers stay one step ahead of scammers,
but you should enable updates for maximum benefit. Keep your anti-virus program updated to
reduce your vulnerability to these attacks.

3. Only use secure Wi-Fi. Avoid logging into financial accounts when you are away from a
WIFI connection. Public Wi-Fi may not be secure, which means that any personal or financial issues
the information you enter while on a public Wi-Fi connection can be easily compromised. At home,
check that your router is properly encrypted to prevent unauthorized access.

4. Monitor your accounts. Keep a close eye on your current, savings and investment account
activity. If you notice anything strange, contact your bank or credit card issuer. Give your financier
the institution’s permission to notify you of suspicious activity by activating alerts.

5. Enable two-step authentication. Many financial institutions offer the option of a two-step process
authentication to deter fraud. When you opt for this extra layer of security, you will have
go through an extra step to verify that it is really you when accessing accounts. It may take a minute longer
of your time, but it’s worth knowing that you’re making it harder for hackers
violate your accounts.

6. Stop before you click. Beware of fake emails and online advertisements that seek to access your
passwords and other sensitive information. Many spammers use fake return addresses that are
easy to spot, but others have adopted more sophisticated schemes to entice you to engage.

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Cody Sims, CRPC, AAMS, AWMA, is a financial advisor and franchise owner at Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. in Chattanooga, Tennessee. He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been practicing for 27 years. To contact him,, 423-648-2900, and 412 Georgia Ave., Suite 210, Chattanooga, Tn. 37403.

Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser.

Investment products are not insured by the FDIC, NCUA, or any federal agency, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by, any financial institution, and involve investment risks, including possible loss of capital and a fluctuation in value.

Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. FINRA and SIPC member.
2022 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.

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