Hearing about history is great (for some). Hearing about history from Nicholas Cage amid an action/mystery film while a tension-building musical score is playing and the discovery of a city of gold is on the line? Now we’re talking! In the Walt Disney film National Treasure: Book of Secrets, Nicholas Cage’s character follows clues left by our Founding Fathers to unlock the secrets stored within the Resolute desk; a desk made from the salvaged wood of the HMS Resolute after it was abandoned in the Arctic in 1854, recovered by the United States and returned to the United Kingdom in 1855, and subsequently decommissioned and broken up in 1879. Queen Victoria commissioned a desk to be built from the timbers as a gift to the US, and it currently resides in the Oval Office.
All of us have secrets too. Passwords. Dozens of them – maybe even hundreds.
Luckily for us, our solution is much simpler than stashing passwords inside a desk commissioned by a queen, gifted to a president, and sitting inside the White House: it’s a password keeper! A simple phone application or computer storing all of your (different and not recycled) passwords behind one master password. A list of some of the best-rated apps can be found here. A Bridgeworth partner, Patti Black, CFP®, wrote more specifically about one here.
In addition to passwords, we also have our identities that need protecting. With the vast majority of the world shifting online and fluctuating even further during the pandemic, more and more personal information gets shared for simple day-to-day tasks: credit cards, social security numbers, addresses, phone numbers, bank account information, etc. Many banks and credit cards offer free credit monitoring for customers; check with your financial institution to see. Other helpful tools include:
- https://www.AnnualCreditReport.com to obtain your free credit report
- optoutprescreen.com or 1-888-5OPTOUT to opt-out of preapproved/prescreened offers of credit or insurance
- http://www.donotcall.gov to be put on the national Do Not Call Registry
- http://www.dmachoice.org to reduce unsolicited mail and email
Don’t forget about social media, either. I know we all love teaching mom that TikTok dance and sharing videos of cats being scared by cucumbers, but there are some sneaky ways fraudsters use social media to get answers to your security questions from seemingly innocent posts. Bridgeworth insights blog veteran Laura Rhoades has some excellent tips for social media safety here.
And speaking of social media, our online personas don’t disappear when we pass away. Some key points to consider now include:
- Meeting with an estate attorney to put together a plan for tangible and digital assets.
- Back up your essential and memorable files on an external hard drive or one of many cloud services (Bridgeworth offers a digital vault as part of our WealthVision software for our clients).
Golfer extraordinaire (no exaggeration – he’s superb) and Bridgeworth advisor Stewart Whitt addresses some ways to handle your digital assets here.
Finally, one of the best sources of information about identity theft, how to prevent it, and what to do should you become a victim or target is the Federal Trade Commission website: www.FTC.org. Search “identity theft,” and you will find volumes of helpful information or access it directly at www.idtheft.gov.
So, if you haven’t made a New Year’s resolution (or require a new one for… reasons), resolve to be more resolute in protecting your identity. And pray that Nicholas Cage and his plucky, self-deprecating assistant don’t target your password keeper.
Bridgeworth Wealth Management is a registered investment adviser and is not affiliated with any of the mentioned applications or companies listed in this article.
“The following suggestion of companies and applications should not be construed as promissory from Bridgeworth Wealth Management as to its safety/security. Please do your research and read the website’s Terms of Service and Security Statements. We live in a dangerous world and encourage clients to take digital security very seriously”.
Nothing in this material constitutes individual investment, legal, or tax advice. Investments involve risk, and an investor may incur either profits or losses.
This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial, or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.