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Hanover, Ontario
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How to Use Cyber Safety for Debt Control

Tap, swipe, pay. Today’s easy payment methods are creating a cashless society. Even older Canadians are participating, and that’s changing the conversation around debt control. Digital payment methods mean that your personal and banking information is in the cyber world, making your money vulnerable to theft. For many people, a financial fraud can be devastating and lead to an unmanageable level of debt, so practicing cyber safety is a must.

Hanover is home to hundreds of baby boomers and older seniors. Increasingly, these groups are using tap-enabled credit cards and even smartphones to make their purchases because it’s fast, easy and efficient. At the same time, a recent survey found that 53 per cent of people who use mobile payment methods worry that their personal information isn’t safe.

It’s important to note that older Canadians currently aren’t the target for fraud that they once were. From online scams to credit application fraud, millennials are increasingly targeted. In fact, half of credit application frauds were against those aged 16 to 36 while 17 per cent were against baby boomers and just three per cent were against people born between 1925 and 1944.

But new payment methods open the door to potential new ways of defrauding people and most can’t afford to have their bank accounts wiped out. For that reason, debt advice now includes talking about cyber safety and how you can protect yourself. Making sure you don’t lose what you have is an important part of debt management.

Protect your info to ensure you’re in control of your debt

If you’re using mobile devices, it’s critical to ensure you’re on a secure wireless network that hackers can’t easily get into. If you’re out in public, you may want to avoid sending sensitive financial information to anyone. Many consumers overlook the fact that free public Wi-Fi connections leave their devices unsecured and open to cyber risks, including financial theft.

Secondly, make sure you are using the most current version of apps and mobile software. Theoretically at least, the most current version is the least vulnerable to cyber attack.

You should also install anti-theft technology on your mobile devices and take the time to back up your data. Back-ups can be done on a physical external backup or using a cloud-based application.

Ensure your mobile phone or tablet locks after a certain period of time so you have to re-enter your password to gain access. This will slow and possibly stop a thief from accessing your information and being able to use the device to make purchases. You’ll also want to make sure you have a strong password that cannot be easily guessed.

Using digital payment methods is the wave of the future, although it’s important to remember that the act of using them can lead to higher levels of debt. MasterCard found that cardholders who use the tap feature spend almost 30 per cent more than they did in the past. As long as you continue to practice proven methods of debt control, like tracking your spending and staying within your budget, and also implement cyber safety controls, you can enjoy the benefits of these new technologies.

 

Are new payment methods changing how you think about debt control? Tell us your story on Twitter. #LetsTalkDebt, #BDOdebtrelief



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