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The newsletter articles on this page provide valuable information on timely and interesting financial issues across a variety of subject areas, including retirement, investments, personal finance, annuities, insurance, taxes, college, and government benefits.


From Data Breaches to Ransomware: How to Avoid Becoming the Victim of a Cybercrime
Five Common Financial Aid Myths
Test Your Investing IQ
If I donate used property to charity, what documentation is needed?
How do TIPS help fight inflation?


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From Data Breaches to Ransomware: How to Avoid Becoming the Victim of a Cybercrime

Each time you connect to the Internet, you risk becoming the victim of a cybercrime. It's the price we pay for living in a digital world — whether it's at home, at work, or on your smartphone.

According to the Identity Theft Resource Institute, the number of U.S. data breaches in 2016 increased by 40%. And as recently as May 2017, a widespread "ransomware" attack targeted personal computers across the globe. While software companies are continually developing strategies to combat the latest cybercrimes, there are some steps you can take to help protect yourself online.

The stronger, the better

It's a scary thought — most of us have a large amount of financial and personal information that's readily accessible through the Internet, in most cases protected by nothing more than a username and password.

Create a strong password by using a combination of lower- and upper-case letters, numbers, and symbols or by using a random phrase. Avoid using a password with your personal information such as your name and address. In addition, have a separate and unique password for each account or website that you use.

If you have trouble keeping track of all your password information or you want an extra level of password protection, consider using password management software. Password manager programs generate strong, unique passwords that you control through a single master password.

Follow the 3-2-1 rule

Backing up your online data is critical to avoid losing valuable information due to a cyber attack. If you have digital assets that you don't want to risk losing forever, you should back them up regularly. This pertains to data stored on both personal computers and mobile devices.

When backing up data, a good rule to follow is the 3-2-1 rule. This rule helps reduce the risk that any one event — such as a computer hacker gaining access to your computer — will compromise your primary data and backups. In order to follow the 3-2-1 rule:

  • Have at least three copies of your data (this means a minimum of the original plus two backups)
  • Use at least two different formats (e.g., hard drive and cloud-based service)
  • Ensure that at least one backup copy is stored in a separate location (e.g., safe-deposit box)

Stay one step ahead

Finally, the best way to avoid becoming the victim of a cybercrime is to stay one step ahead of the cybercriminals. Here are some extra precautions you can take before you go online:

Consider using two-step authentication. Two-step authentication, which involves using a text or email code along with your password, provides another layer of protection for your sensitive data.

Keep an eye on your accounts. Notify your financial institution immediately if you see suspicious activity. Early notification not only can stop the cyber thief but may limit your financial liability.

Think twice before clicking. Beware of emails containing links or asking for personal information. Never click on a link in an email or text unless you know the sender and have a clear idea where the link will take you.

Be careful when you shop. When shopping online, look for the secure lock symbol in the address bar and the letters https: (as opposed to http:) in the URL. Avoid using public Wi-Fi networks for shopping, as they lack secure connections.

 
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1318 23rd St South, Fargo, ND 58103
Phone: (701) 237-3453   Fax: (701) 893-3453    Email: jsanders@fscadvisor.com

Securities offered through FSC Securities Corporation, member FINRA and SIPC . James Sanders and Dan Gardner offer investment advisory services through FSC Securities a registered investment advisor. Century Financial Advisors, Inc.is not affiliated with FSC Securities Corporation or registered as a broker-dealer. 

James Sanders offers additional advisory services through Century Financial Advisors, Inc a registered investment advisor and is not affiliated with FSC Securities Corporation. 

This communication is strictly intended for individuals residing in the states where the registered representative is registered to conduct securities business. No offers may be made or accepted from any resident outside the specific state(s) referenced AK, AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI,  MN, MT, ND, NE, NH, NM,  NV, NY, OH, OR, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY.

 

IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION

A Broker/dealer, investment adviser, BD agent, or IA rep may only transact business in a state if first registered, or is excluded or exempt from state broker/dealer, investment adviser, BD agent, or IA registration requirements as appropriate. Follow-up, individualized responses to persons in a state by such a firm or individual that involve either effecting or attempting to effect transactions in securities, or the rendering of personalized investment advice for compensation, will not be made without first complying with appropriate registration requirements, or an applicable exemption or exclusion. For information concerning the licensing status or disciplinary history of a broker/dealer, investment, adviser, BD agent, or IA rep, a consumer should contact his or her state securities law administrator.

 


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