Money is one of those things which hangs over our heads every day of our lives, but many of us never truly understand our rights and how to protect it. You may use your money to fund a fun lifestyle, to pay your mortgage, or maybe you’re just saving up for the future. Whichever the situation, keeping your money protected is vital for your own livelihood and security. Today we are going to discuss some of the ways you can keep you and your money safe, as well as knowing when you are entitled to payment from a third party.
Keep A Constant Record
If you own a bank account, then you will be sent monthly statements either by post or online to help you track your spending and earnings. However, make sure you check your account every day regardless of this. Some companies will take weeks to take a standing payment from your account, and if you’ve budgeted for a certain amount, this could put you into an overdraft- which could lead to charges.
Make sure you always know how much money is in your account, and that way if it changes you can see what the outgoing payment is against receipts from shopping trips or phone contracts. However, if you do see an amount you don’t recognize, you might have to call up the bank and ask them to block the user from your account. Blocking this user means they will no longer be able to take money from your bank account.
Know Your Rights
When it comes to fraud and theft, there are two very different sets of rights which you hold to your personal accounts.
If your debit card is stolen and you report it immediately, you won’t be held responsible for any more than $50 of the fraudulent transaction on your card.
If someone uses your card without your permission and you don’t report it after 60 days, you could lose everything. All of the money which has been stolen will not be recovered as there is no way to prove that you didn’t withdraw the money yourself.
If your debit card is stolen and used without your permission, and you report it within 60 days; you won’t lose all of your money but may be charged up to $500.
The CFPB says, “if an unauthorized transaction appears on your statement (but your card or PIN has not been lost or stolen), under federal law you will not be liable for the debit if you report it within 60 days after your account statement is sent to you.”
If your credit card number is stolen and used without your permission, then you are not responsible for any unauthorized use or transactions on the account.
If your credit card is stolen, similarly to the debit card, you will only be held accountable to up to $50 of unauthorized use, as long as the theft is reported immediately.
Make That Claim
As said above, protecting yourself is not only about securing what you already have available to you, it is also about knowing when you can apply for payment from another party. You’ve probably all seen the commercials about personal injury lawyers and road accidents: but how do you know when you can make a claim?
It can be confusing to know your rights in these situations, but places such as this website can help guide you through the process. Let’s say you work in a warehouse and your foot gets run over by a forklift truck. You will be able to claim compensation only if you are wearing a Hi-Vis jacket and steel capped boots in regulation with safety guidelines. If you are, then you will be entitled to claim compensation from your business. It’s all about knowing the rules and regulations which are in place and making sure you don’t violate these rules. That way if the worst ever happens, it’s not your fault.
Make Your Password Stronger
Unfortunately, even in this day and age with hackers targeting the biggest brands and banks in the world; many of us don’t choose a strong enough password. Luckily, many websites force you to add extra characters and numbers to your password when you sign up, but many still don’t. The best tip is not to use anything which directly links to you. Avoid birthdays, partners names, children, home cities…All of these can be worked out. A simple search on your Facebook account can find all of this information and exploit it. If you are struggling to come up with a great password yourself, try using a password generator. This will pull a random string of letters and numbers which will be much more secure than your previous password and much harder to crack.
Never Use Public Computers
If you use online banking, only ever use your personal devices. It is shocking how easily a hacker could infiltrate a public device and gain access to your accounts. Using your own laptop, tablet or mobile app will mean that no one else has access to the device and no one can worm their way into your bank account and steal your money.
It’s not only the device which can be an issue though, but it is also the Wifi network you use. There are some simple tips to take into account while you are out and about which can save the worst from happening to you.
- Never use an unsecured Wifi Network – any experienced hacker can use this to access your device and information
- Use https:/ websites – When a URL has the padlock sign or https at the start, it means that the site is secured. These are the safest ones to use when handling sensitive information.
- Verify the owner – Even if you do manage to find a secure Wifi Network to join, check who owns the network before using it. A secure network could still be accessed by hackers and fraudsters, so it is imperative to check with the owner that the network is secure before connecting.