• 59°

New Year’s Resolutions that can make you safer in 2019

Every year after the turn of the calendar, people all throughout the country talk about how they are going to change for the better during the next year.

Either they are going to stop eating fast food, lose weight or starting exercising on a regular basis. And most of the time, those people are successful for the first few weeks. I hope many of you make past the first month in 2019.

Recently, the Better Business Bureau for the Chattahoochee Valley released several resolutions for a safe, and scam-free year. These are resolutions each person should stick with to have a smart financial year.

First and foremost, the BBB says to check your credit report. There are a few websites and organizations that provide a free credit report. Once it’s received, review the information and if anything is wrong, a dispute should be filed with the bureau reporting the error. I can’t stress how important it is to know what is on that report.

Next, signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry can make it so pesky telemarketers can’t reach you any longer. Calling 1-888-382-1222 or registering at ftc.gov/donotcall allows you to put your number on the do not call list. It won’t save you from scammers, but it’ll keep the phone ringing a bit less.

Another tip for the new year is keeping your computer safe. We’re on our computers a lot, so why not keep it safe?

It’s as simple as installing a firewall, anti-virus and anti-spyware software. It’s also smart to check for and install the latest updates and run virus scans regularly. Also, don’t open attachments or links in emails from anybody you don’t know. It can lead to your personal information being compromised.

Speaking of information, it’s never a bad idea when doing business with any company or contractor to get everything in writing. The BBB says it’s not a good idea to take the company’s word for it. Get every verbal agreement in writing to limit miscommunication and misunderstandings between your expectations and what the business delivers. Make sure you understand the agreement with a company before signing anything. If something seems confusing, just ask.

The last tip I have for you is to be very careful when using public Wi-Fi.

Make sure the Wi-Fi name is posted somewhere before connecting and if a password is needed. If you don’t see it anywhere, ask somebody. Scammers often set up fake hotspots next to real ones. If you must use a public wireless account for personal matters, go with a virtual private network which encrypts traffic between the computer and the internet, even on unsecured networks.