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So many of us are focused on how we can make the maximum amount of money possible. While this is important, learning how to protect your money is equally as critical. There are many different threats and risks out there that you need to be aware of, such as fraud, identity theft, stolen bank cards, and hackers. Thankfully, there are a variety of measures you can take to help protect your money.

protecting your money

Potential Risks

  • Fraud: Fraud is a major risk that you need to be aware of. Fraud simply means somebody attempting to deceive you or someone else for either personal or financial gain. An example of this are the spam calls that all of us have been getting about your car’s extended warranty expiring. In this example, the scammer is attempting to deceive you into giving them your credit card or bank account information to then steal your money. 
  • Identity Theft: Identity theft, although it is a form of fraud, is an extremely dangerous risk to your money. Identity theft is where somebody attempts to steal your identity, usually by obtaining your social security number and other important personal information. In some cases they even use digital synthetic identities that are so realistic most fraud detection services are fooled. They then use your identity to open up new credit cards or bank accounts, among other things. The risk of this is that, as the account is tied to your identity, any debt can potentially be your responsibility and severely impact your credit score.
  • Stolen Bank Cards: Most people, at least once in their life, have checked their bank accounts to see a bunch of charges they didn’t make. Usually, this happens through somebody illegally obtaining your debit or credit card, whether it’s through theft or you simply misplacing your wallet.
  • Hacking: Another common risk you need to be aware of when learning how to protect your money is a hacker gaining access to your bank accounts. This can happen either through hacking the bank directly (which is extremely difficult, as banks and other financial institutions have a ton of safeguards in place) or by hacking either your phone, app, or username and password.

Best Practices: How to Protect Your Money

Now that we’ve shared a few common risks that you should be aware of, we’d like to give you a few basic, simple best practices that will help you protect your money. You might already be aware of some of these, but they are all important when thinking about how to protect your money.

Check Your Accounts Often

One of the easiest things you can do to protect your money is to check your checking, savings, and credit card accounts daily.  Although it might sound a little extreme, taking the 5 minutes to briefly check your accounts allows you to stay on top of any potentially fraudulent transactions. 

monitor credit score

Monitor your Credit

There are many sources available to monitor your credit and even get notified if your credit is being checked or a new account is being opened in your name.

Lock your credit file when you are not applying for new credit. This can be a simple way to protect your identity and restrict fraudsters from impersonating you even if they gained access to your personal data. In order to lock your credit file, you will need to contact each of the following three credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion

Do Research on Your Bank

One of the most important steps you can take in learning how to protect your money is to thoroughly research your current and/or future banks. You will want to make sure your bank is FDIC-insured, which protects your money up to $250,000 per account. Another crucial thing to research is whether or not your bank has good customer service. Lastly, you’ll want to learn about any potential missteps that your bank has had in the past, such as the Wells Fargo scandal a decade ago, where employees were fraudulently opening new accounts without customer awareness.

Don’t Share Your Bank Info With Anyone

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s actually one of the most common ways to have your identity or money stolen. Unless you are calling your bank directly, under no circumstances should you share your bank account information with anybody, even if they seem legitimate. 

two factor authentication

Use Strong Passwords & Multi-factor Authentication (MFA)

Strong passwords and MFA can help prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. By having long, complex passwords that you change frequently, you reduce the risk of somebody or a computer program guessing your password. Multi-factor authentication is another way to keep your accounts safe. MFA uses 2+ checks to confirm your identity, such as entering a password and then inputting a numerical code texted to your phone number. 

Be Sure You’re Using Secure Devices & Networks

You should only log in to your financial information from a secure, personal device and secure (password-protected) wifi network. It’s much easier for hackers to gain access to your data if you are using an unsecured, public device or wifi network. In a perfect world, you’d have a dedicated computer to access your finances, but this obviously is not realistic for most.

Protect Your Money w/ Marygold & Co.

Marygold & Co. is a new financial services app that’s dedicated to helping organize your financial life and reach your financial goals.

Not only is it revolutionizing budgeting and expense tracking through a new feature called Money Pools, but Marygold & Co. is extremely concerned with safety and security. That’s why we employ state-of-the-art technology like biometrics with facial authentication to determine if a government-issued identification is authentic and a selfie of a live person matches the picture on the ID.  This is highly effective because fraudsters don’t like to have their real picture taken and faking a real face is not an easy task. 

Other security measures like multifactor authentication and fingerprint credentials offer additional layers of protection once an account is opened.

You shouldn’t entrust your hard-earned money to just anybody, and Marygold & Co. will not only help protect your money but it gives you all the tools needed to push towards your financial goals.

You’ve worked hard for the things you have under your name – it’s more than a sinking feeling to find out that someone has stolen your belongings, finances, and identity. It can be a real pain to try and sort it all out once it happens. It’s best to try and take preventative measures so that you’re not a victim of identity theft. Here are some tips on how to avoid identity theft.

identity theft on mobile

What is Identity Theft?

When someone deliberately uses another’s identification, that person is committing identity theft. This information might be a name, a driver’s license number, social security number, a fingerprint, a PIN, a passport, a health card identification, a bank account, an electronic signature, a credit card, or debit card number.

The High Cost of Identity Theft 

If you fell victim to identity theft, you’re not alone. Last year, forty-nine million Americans experienced identity theft according to the 2021 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research. The cost to consumers was $56 billion—for one year!

It’s not just about cleaning out your bank account. With your identity, the thief can make regular bank withdrawals, apply for credit cards, get a loan, buy a car, a house, or a plane ticket.

Writer Asaf Griener paints a frightening scenario. We won’t go into detail here but it is worth taking a look at.

How Technology Helps the Thief

In a NewScientist article “Cyber Crime Made Easy”, the author explains the level to which hackers are making adept use of malicious software. You can purchase an app for credit card theft.

Just as high-tech makes it easy to steal a car, points out CBC’s Sarah Bridge, so too, there is an alarming array of gadgets for identity theft. Ed Oswald describes some of these.

Skimmers

Identity thieves capture data on your debit cards by skimming. A data storage device could be attached to an ATM. They could also be attached to credit card readers. While the transaction is going through a digital copy of your credit card information is being made.

How Can You Combat Skimming?

Never let your credit or debit card out of your sight. Be cautious if a machine looks unusual.  Use cards with an EMV chip if possible.  Cover the pad when you enter your PIN and always monitor your transactions on your app or statements.

Laptops

Some identity thieves simply drive around looking for unsecured hotspots with their laptop.  Then they log into your wireless network looking for vulnerabilities.

How Can You Combat the Laptop Thief?

Make sure your computer’s firewall is up and running. Never leave your home wireless network unsecured. Choose a Wi-Fi password that is hard to crack. Enable all security features on the router.

Your Old Gadgets

How we treat old, broken gadgets is important. Those old gadgets may not work but they contain data. Often before they are discarded, data is not wiped, identity thieves can gather personal information.

How to Combat Identity Theft from Old Gadgets

Be careful what you store there—like passwords and PINs. Keep sensitive information off these devices. Before you discard them, wipe clean every device before you trade it in or sell it. The New York Times offers this easy way to clean data from your device.

Internet Connection

If thieves have one of your credit card numbers, it is easy for them to conceal their actions. All it requires to change a system is a name, address, and a credit card. Once an address is changed, they can open credit cards and other fraudulent accounts in your name. And you probably won’t even realize it until months later!

How Can You Stop Internet Theft?

Use your credit cards wisely. If you lose one, shut it off immediately. Restart it when you know it is safe.  Some banks offer a freeze/unfreeze option for your card. If you aren’t sure if you’ve lost it but want to keep your funds protected, this is a great option! Then you don’t have to worry about cancelling your card and waiting for the bank to reissue your new one.

Lost, Stolen, and Compromised Cards

Identity theft is far from rare. Fraud is a global problem that continues to grow. The Insurance Information Institute claims that in 2020, losses from identity theft cases topped $712.4 billion dollars. Which is a 42 percent increase from 2019. In 2020, the second highest reported identity fraud came from credit cards and opening new accounts. By 2021, losses are forecasted to increase to $721.3 billion dollars. It continues to climb annually.

stolen identity

Common Mistakes of Online Banking

We’re lulled into a sense of security because online banking seems so private and safe. Our naiveté blunders can make us easy victims of fraud and identity theft.

  • Never assume everything is okay.

Check credit card activity and your bank accounts often. Monitor the activity on your accounts. Inform your financial institution if there are any suspicious transactions immediately.

  • Don’t use predictable and/or unchanging passwords.

I know. It’s easier to keep a password forever. It’s tempting to choose one that makes sense and is easy to recall. Don’t be one of those people who use the same password for several cards!

Make it hard for thieves. Change your passwords often. One banking institution recommends changing your password after every transaction!

Write down new passwords and store them in a safe place—not your smartphone or your computer.

  • Guard your smartphone at all times.

Sadly, our lives are stored in our smartphones. Over fifty percent are used for online banking. How can you cut the odds of theft? Use only official banking apps.

  • Don’t decline security features.

Without security alerts to your phone or email, identity thieves can use your information undetected 75% longer. Look for free apps. Some banks even provide information when the account falls below a specific limit.

  • Don’t avoid online banking.

Your financial institution spends millions bolstering online security and keeping firewalls strong. It would be a shame if you avoided the convenience of online banking simply because it might be risky.

Customized security is tailored to your needs and desires.  New features are coming out as technology improves them.

how to avoid identity theft

Why Choose Marygold & Co.?

Marygold & Company has over two decades of experience in financial services. Recently launched, the Marygold & Co. Mastercard Debit Card and mobile app gives customers safe FDIC-insured accounts with a custom security dashboard that allows users to take more control of their finances.

Marygold & Co. has created a new card and app where you can control the use of your card with just a toggle. With the Marygold & Co. app, you can even control where your card is used.

With Marygold & Co’s user-friendly, customized security, you can freeze and unfreeze your account or type of transaction like international with the touch of your mobile phone..

We all have those heart-stopping moments when our card goes missing. Whether it was lost, stolen, or misplaced, canceling is time-consuming and inconvenient. You have to contact businesses to stop recurring payments tied to that card. You have to wait to receive a new one.

With Marygold & Co.’s customized security, you need only use your secure app to freeze  your card. If it turns up, you merely unfreeze it!

“We engage in the folly of short-term speculation and eschew the wisdom of long-term investing.  We ignore the real diamonds of simplicity, seeking instead the illusory rhinestones of complexity.”

– John C. Bogle, Enough: True Measures of Money, Business and Life

The idea of investing to achieve our goals CAN BE very straightforward.

Focus on the long-term, diversify, and do not use products with high fee structures.

The world of investing does not need to be complex and stressful. However, there are some investment firms that seem to do a pretty good job of making it seem so complex that most of us could not figure it out on our own, and this is just simply not true.

Long-term investing can and should be easy to understand.

investing vs speculating

Trading Options

I’ve had several people talk to me about trading options recently.

Perhaps because of recent congressional hearings or perhaps because now even the more conservative retail investment firms are running TV commercials talking about trading “iron condors”.

My opinion is, for the large majority of retail investors, options involve more risk than upside and should be avoided.

Ask yourself, “Who is on the other side of that trade? For me to win my bet, who has to lose?”

Then perhaps ask if you feel you have better information than the large Wall Street firms?

wall street buildings

“Wall Street investment banks are like Las Vegas casinos: They set the odds. The customer who plays zero-sum games against them may win from time to time but never systematically, and never so spectacularly that he bankrupts the casino.”

– Michael Lewis, The Big Short: Inside The Doomsday Machine

It is important to understand the difference between investing vs speculating.

Do you understand the investment you are considering, and why it is going higher or lower?

Do you have experience in the industry and know who is taking the other side?

We have numerous media outlets that now focus on short-term trading, which is fine, as long as we understand that this is speculation, not investing.

investing vs speculation

Investing should not be stressful! 

We should feel good about putting our money to work for us. And if we have a long-term approach it doesn’t take a lot of work on our part. As long as we understand our goals and match our investment strategy to meet those goals, it becomes a straightforward endeavor.

And stay away from get-rich-quick schemes and short-term speculation that is difficult to understand. Knowing the difference between investing vs speculating is empowering.

In the profound words of John C. Bogle…

“The obvious conclusion: investors win; speculators lose.”

– John C. Bogle, Enough: True Measures of Money, Business and Life

Have you ever seen that icon on your credit card with frequency wave-like lines, similar to the WiFi icon, but sideways? That means your card is enabled for NFC payment. But what exactly does that mean?

What is NFC?

Near Field Communication is a feature available on most modern phones. As the name suggests, NFC is a method of wireless data transfer. It detects and allows technology in the vicinity to share data without an internet connection.

nfc payments

How Does NFC Work?

NFC may power key cards or fobs, pet microchips, and even public transit cards.

NFC is more simple to use. It is a successor to radio frequency identification. The NFC chip in your card is part of a wireless link. It is activated by another chip. Once that happens, small bits of data flow between the two devices. The transfer occurs when your card is held an inch or less from the other chip.

Advantages of NFC

There’s a reason we’re seeing this technology more and more in our everyday lives.

As FIS.com notes, there are four main advantages of NFC payment.

NFC is easy

Using NFC is simple.

You don’t have to recall a passcode since it doesn’t require a pin. With near field communications, all you need to make a payment is to hold up your phone, your NFC-equipped card, key fob, or bracelet near the POS terminal and you’re done.

When compared to EMV cards that require entering the card, waiting, and typing in your pin code, NFC cards are a one-step, quick process.

NFC is fast

As consumers, we are attracted to businesses where we don’t have to wait.

Using NFC, your transaction takes a fraction of the time it would take to pay cash or with a traditional credit card. This is good news for both customers and businesses.

Transactions are faster with near-field communication. Checkout lines are shorter, fewer staff members are required and customers move through purchase and payment rapidly.

There’s nothing to remember

NFC works automatically. No pairing code is needed.

With NFC, the only thing you need to carry is your smartphone, card, or NFC-enabled item.

NFC is energy efficient

The chips in NFC require only minimal amounts of energy to link up.

These low or passive energy chips are much more power-efficient than other wireless communication.

NFC is physically safer

As we deal with COVID-19 and the spread of other viruses, people are more sensitive than ever when it comes to touching things.

Near-field communication is a safe, contactless payment option.

You simply hold the NFC chip near the terminal and the transaction is complete. Having a means of payment that does not involve human touch has been reassuring during these difficult times.

NFC is more secure

Many people fear that something as fast and easy as NFC isn’t as secure as requiring a PIN or a signature at payment. If customers don’t trust the payment option, they won’t use it.

NFC signals are encrypted and transmitted only in close proximity. Meaning, the signal can’t be hacked by someone who is even a few feet away.

Security protection built into smartphones makes NFC payments even more secure if the transaction is made not with a card but with your phone. Thus, using your phone as your NFC chip, there is an additional layer of security.

Issuers also place lower limits on NFC transactions (example $100 max) to protect against lost or stolen cards and fraudulent transaction attempts.  Some even allow you to freeze and unfreeze the NFC contactless payment option for additional security.

NFC increases customer satisfaction

Because transactions are faster, checkout lines are shorter. The result is increased customer satisfaction with the business. Ease of transaction makes customers happy. They will return to buy at this business. When they are assured NFC is a very secure way to pay it adds to customer satisfaction.

NFC encourages consumer spending

Since customers can check out faster because of tap and pay, those who might make a purchase are encouraged to do so. If there are long lineups at the movies, the grocery store, a  restaurant, a gas station, or the bookstore, potential buyers will abandon their goods and leave.

NFC payment translates to a pleasant business experience. Happier customers and more efficient operations are what make buyers purchase and return to buy again. Be careful not to let your spending get out of control, though!

NFC is easy to implement

More businesses are starting to implement near-field communication as well as NFC-enabled payment terminals. Most new payment equipment now contains near-field communication technology. Setup is instantaneous.

tap and pay

Disadvantages of NFC

Livewire writer Priya Viswanathan points out that although there are many advantages to NFC, there is a downside.

For some businesses, implementing NFC technology may be just too expensive. Large retailers can afford the hardware and software upgrades. Some stores and shops may take a longer time to acquire new devices.

As with any change, there is a level of mistrust until consumers are assured NFC is safe and easy.

How do NFC and EMV Differ?

EMV means Europay, Mastercard, and Visa (the 1994 founders) and commonly refers to the smart chip in debit and credit cards. EMV uses a chip embedded in a card instead of a magnetic strip. Chances are you’ve probably seen it being implemented on newer cards. The EMV chip is much more secure than the magnetic strip.

NFC chip stands for near field communication technology and is typically embedded inside debit and credit cards, smartphones, or smartwatches. This chip allows data to be read by a POS terminal without inserting your card creating a contactless payment. You simply hold the NFC enabled item near the terminal and boom, payment accepted. No pin, no swipe.

The NFC “card” might not be a card at all. It could also be a key fob, a bracelet,  a phone, a watch, or any other object a chip can be inserted in.

Many businesses have machines that can accept both EMV or NFC. However, some transaction terminals may take only one payment option.

Examples of NFC Payments

Welcome to the world of touchless technology. Wherever there is a POS terminal that accepts NFC transactions, you can tap and pay.

This might include a restaurant, a coffee shop, a taxi or subway ride, buying a concert ticket, or getting refreshments for that concert.

You can pay a toll, purchase a subway ticket, pay for coffee, or get snacks from a vending machine all with a contactless tap.

nfc chip

Why Choose Marygold & Co.?

Marygold & Co. provides you with NFC Mastercard* debit cards to enable contactless payment.  Additionally, our app enables contactless payments from your Android phone, and clients have access to NFC-enabled key fobs and silicone bracelets. Support for Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay wallets are also coming in late Spring of 2021.

We have gone to great lengths to ensure customer security is the priority for contactless payment cards.

  • Lower limits are set on purchases and
  • New technology also allows you to freeze your NFC chip. You can unfreeze it at any time.
  • You can also lower or raise the purchase maximums whenever you wish for the NFC-equipped card, bracelet, key fob, watch, or smartphone.

As part of our customer service plan, Marygold & Co. cards have both NFC and EMV capabilities.

*Marygold & Co. Bank Accounts and Debit Card are provided by LendingClub Bank, N.A., Member FDIC, pursuant to license from Mastercard International. Deposits insured by the FDIC up to the allowable limit.