Protect Your Information From Prying Eyes

As more and more consumers search for financial information on the Internet, they may inadvertently leave themselves open to being “tracked” by certain companies and individuals. Visitors to financial Websites have created a large mass of information that is, in some cases, hardly private. Many marketing companies routinely employ software programs designed to identify you and your “surfing” habits on financial Websites. Some are basic and some can be very invasive.

Individual investors are now faced with growing concerns about keeping their financial matters private. Here are several ideas to help you maintain confidentiality and keep your private matters truly private:

  • Understand privacy policies. The first thing you should do is read and understand the “privacy policies” of the financial institutions you are dealing with. This is especially important if you are conducting financial transactions. Ask questions about how the financial institution intends to maintain and secure your financial information. Often, the legal jargon and descriptive material may be difficult to understand and wade through, but you can email a financial institution and request a complete explanation of its privacy policy.
  • Exercise diligence. Be extremely careful about providing financial information to Websites that are not well known. Larger financial institutions are developing policies to protect the rights and financial information of their customers and they get high marks for doing the job well.
  • Guard personal information. As with any financial information, when providing certain financial Websites with information, such as your phone number, you create a whole new world of opportunities for “cold calling” financial organizations. So, resist the temptation of providing personal information to companies who are unfamiliar to you.
  • Reduce or eliminate cookies. You can, in fact, take some measures to safeguard certain financial information. Start by telling your browser not to accept cookies. The result may make surfing the net a little more difficult. On the other hand, you could choose to limit cookies or to be alerted when a cookie is set. As a third alternative, you could simply delete any cookies from your hard drive after each online session.

While maintaining anonymity on the Web is difficult, it’s important to protect your financial privacy and any financial information about your family. As time goes by, more and more protective measures will be put in place so you can feel more assured that your financial records and information will be protected from the prying eyes of unknown third parties.

85WP – 2023.08