Mike Timmermann, Clark.com
After hackers obtained the personal information of more than 145 million consumers in the Equifax data breach, Americans are wondering what they can do to protect their money.
We’ve talked a lot about credit monitoring and credit freezes lately, but two-factor authentication is another valuable security tool.
Why you need to set up two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication, also known as 2FA, is an extra layer of security that requires you to provide more than just your username and password to access an account.
In its most common form, users must enter a one-time code that’s texted to their mobile device. That’s the second factor.
If a hacker is able to guess your username and password, having two-factor authentication would prevent them from getting into your account and stealing your money without that additional code.
Not all banks and brokerages support two-factor authentication, but you can look for it in your account’s security settings.
Two Factor Auth is a website that keeps a running list of financial institutions that use two-factor authentication, including Ally Bank, Bank of America, Chase, Discover, USAA and Wells Fargo. Read more here.
Going forward, Clark believes 2FA using fingerprint readers and voice recognition will become more popular.
While you’re setting up two-factor authentication with your bank, go ahead and change your passwords. You should never use the same password for multiple accounts that contain sensitive information.
Clark said these steps don’t guarantee that a hacker won’t get into your account, but they do put up roadblocks.
“The criminals have access to so much information on so many people. Anybody who has put up barriers, they’ll just go on to somebody who hasn’t,” Clark said on the radio show.