Safeguard this tax-favored savings account. It’s next on scammers’ lists

Personal Finance

While you may not interact with your 529 plan as much as you do your checking account, you can still take steps to safeguard your hard-earned savings.

Check in regularly: You may have decided to “set and forget” your 529 plan investments, but that doesn’t mean you should blow off your account altogether. Sign in often enough to identify any strange activity.

“Don’t check your account weekly or daily, but if you sit down to pay your bills, spend an extra two minutes to verify the balance,” said David Dufour, vice president of engineering at Webroot.

Use multi-factor authentication: Lock up your account by requiring another set of credentials in addition to signing in online. Multi-factor authentication, available at most banks, will require that you punch in a code that’s sent to your cell phone before you can access your account.

“If you can have that additional authentication, do it,” said Dufour. “For accounts you use frequently, you definitely want to do it.” Turn on real-time account activity alerts if they’re available.

Use complex passwords: Don’t recycle credentials for all of your accounts. Be sure to change your passwords periodically and keep them complex.

Watch what you share: If you’re sharing all the intimate details of your life on Twitter and Facebook, a hacker will have no problem answering questions your account provider may ask to confirm your identity.

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