Ep. 167 – Andy Murphy – Securing Yourself Online and at Home

How do you keep your home and online space secure? Are you proactive in the steps you take to avoid fixing any damage? 

It’s important to understand the real threats that your family can face and how to be proactive about your security. The first step you should take towards your home security is making your home an unattractive target to the bad guys.

In this episode of the Secure Your Retirement podcast, we have Andy Murphy, founder of The Secure Dad, a family safety education company. Listen in to learn what to avoid and what to adopt to keep yourself financially secure online.

In this episode, find out:

●     How more lights to the exterior of your home make it unattractive to thieves.

●     Have and maintain discipline in properly locking and lighting your home when necessary.

●     Stay safe online by avoiding email phishing and malicious links on google search.

●     Avoid sending cheques in the actual mailbox to protect yourself against financial theft.

●     The importance of two-factor authentication and using text notification instead of authenticator apps.

●     Avoid locking yourself out of your digital accounts by not using password managers.

●     The online safety caution to take with your children to avoid cyberattacks.

Tweetable Quotes:

●     “Life is enjoyable, and we can all have a good time if we just take a few proactive steps to protect our investments and families.”– Andy Murphy

●     “Don’t necessarily put all your trust in something that’s on the cloud that you can’t physically get to.”– Andy Murphy

Get in Touch with Andy:

●     Website: https://www.thesecuredad.com/

●     Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thesecuredad/


If you are in or nearing retirement and you want to gain clarity on what questions you should be asking, learn what the biggest retirement myths are, and identify what you can do to achieve peace of mind for your retirement, get started today by requesting our complimentary video course, Four Steps to Secure Your Retirement!

To access the course, simply visit POMWealth.net/podcast.

Here’s the Full Transcript:

Radon Stancil:Welcome everyone to our Secure Your Retirement Podcast. Murs, and I are glad to be able to talk with you today on a topic that we think is really, really important and that is security, but we’re talking about security when it comes to how to protect potentially some of our largest assets, that’s our home. And maybe we’ve got a vacation home, a personal home, whatever it might be. How do we keep that secure from against people who maybe want to come and take things from us? How do we do that?  
 And the other part of this is that we talk about all the time, in particular our clients and we’ve had a couple of episodes on this is securing ourselves online. You can’t get away from being online, how do we do it in a secure way? Today, we have a special guest with us. His name is Andy Murphy and Andy Murphy teaches all things about security. From that perspective, he does teaching on that, he’s written a book on that. So, Andy, thank you so very much for coming on and talking with us and all of our listeners today.  
Andy Murphy:Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate the opportunity to be able to talk to you guys and also to your audience to try to help folks live a safer, happier life.  
Radon Stancil:Fantastic.  
Murs Tariq:Sounds Great. Well, Andy, thanks again for joining us. And I think before we get into the topics of home security and online security, you are the owner of the company called The Secure Dad. So just give us a quick background as to what made you start this company and kind of where you’re at now.  
Andy Murphy:Sure. I don’t know if you guys are familiar with Michael Hyatt or not, but I was listening to one of his presentations and he said, “What’s one thing you can talk about every day, all day and never get tired of it?” And for me, that is family safety. So I founded a family safety education company.  
 And my goal is to try to help families understand the real threats that are out there, and help them navigate those threats in a non-threatening way so that they can understand that really life is enjoyable, that we can all have a good time. If we just take a few proactive steps, we can protect our investments and we can protect our family.  
Radon Stancil:That’s great. So let’s talk a little bit about our homes. Obviously, our homes are a very large asset for many of us, and sometimes we’re worried, wonder whether or not people can get access to that home. Obviously, whether we’re in it or not, we don’t really want that to occur. So could you kind of walk us through maybe some things that you teach about what it means and why we should to be able to keep our home safe?  
Andy Murphy:Sure. One of the biggest things that we need to take a look at with home security is understanding that when we are proactive about it, we can keep bad things from happening. And a home break-in is actually very expensive. It’s not only that you have to repair your home, you have to file everything with insurance. But just a little bit of being proactive will help you from not only the emotional stress, but also the financial stress of what’s happened.  
 So what I teach people a lot with home security is that while your home is your castle, it’s where you live, it’s where your family is. To a thief, it’s just a target. And so what we need to do is step out of our comfort zone, step out of our bubble and see our home for what it really is, it can be the target of a thief. A lot of people think that they don’t need to do anything about home security until someone breaks in. And that’s kind of a myth that alarm companies have given us.  
 How many commercials have you guys seen where the bad guy breaks in and the alarm goes off, and then somebody comes over, one of the cameras and says, “You need to leave now”? That sort of thing. That’s all well and good and alarms serve their purpose, but what I want to teach people is how to make your home an unattractive target so if thief never targets you in the first place, no one kicks in your door, no one breaks in the glass.  
 One of the things that we can do and the biggest fear that most homeowners have and understandably so is that you’re going to be asleep and that somebody is going to break into your house, because that’s when we feel the most vulnerable. Now, it’s not necessarily the case that a thief is going to come in at that time of night always. But one of the simple things that we can do is add more light to the exterior of our home. And when we do that, we take away darkness and we take away the level of concealment that a bad guy would have to come up to take a look in your window, to take a look at your door, and maybe to go around to your backyard.  
 If they think they’re going to be seen, they’re not going to choose your house. If your house is well lit and your neighbors is not, that might be the difference in somebody else selecting someone else’s home.  
Murs Tariq:Yeah, and that makes a lot of sense. And we talk a lot about being proactive in your retirement plan, being proactive around taxes. I talked to Radon the other day about, “Hey, how often are you supposed to get your A/C unit checked out?” And all these things that you do just to make sure that doesn’t break down because you don’t want everyone to break down. And so that’s kind of, I like where you’re going here, having some more lighting around the house makes a lot of sense.  
 So it’s more than just having the technology because someone could just say, “Well, I’ve got the security system and I’ve got the Ring camera at the front,” but there’s always going to be ways that an intruder could find an opportunity, right? So what are some other tips that you’ve got around securing the house and things that we don’t … Sometimes I find that our house will have the front door unlocked. Now it’s during the middle of the day, right?  
Andy Murphy:Right.  
Murs Tariq:So it’s probably not that big of an issue, but we live in a world now where maybe go back 20 years ago, people were very comfortable keeping their door unlocked throughout the day, throughout the night, but that world has changed considerably. So what are some other tips that you’ve got for us?  
Andy Murphy:Sure. So I wrote a book on home security. It’s called Home Security: The Secure Dad’s Guide and I teach a layered home defense strategy. And the very first layer is called discipline and discipline refers to the actions that we take. It’s making sure that our doors are locked. It’s making sure that our garage door is down. It’s making sure that we turn on the lights at the end of the night to make sure that our home is illuminated.  
 Now. I don’t want to scare you here, but the most common time for somebody to break into someone’s home is actually in the middle of the day. People think that folks are at work and generally the average thief doesn’t want a confrontation with the homeowner, so they’re going to try to go at a time where they think you’re on vacation or they think that you’re at work. So one of the things that we need to do to be disciplined is make sure that our doors are locked, make sure that our windows are locked and closed, and that our garage door is down.  
 I can’t tell you how many homes in my neighborhood, the garage door’s up and I can see inside there’s nice exercise equipment, there’s bikes, there’s fishing and hunting gear, and all that sort of stuff that could easily just walk off and make its way down to the pawn shop for some quick cash. So what we need to do is make sure that we’re disciplined and making sure that our home looks like that unappealing target.  
 One of the other things that we need to do is just kind of step up and take responsibility for what’s going on. Just a little bit of proactiveness of making sure that all of those things are taken care of will go a long way in the long run to making sure that we can sleep safe at night.  
Radon Stancil:Excellent. Well, that’s a lot of great tips and we appreciate that, but I want to transition just for a minute because you know, we are financial advisors. We help our clients get ready for and live throughout retirement and used to people would tell us quite regularly, I don’t really want to access my statements online. Can I get those hard copy?” Over the years, though, that has changed. And people now have just said, “Okay, well I’ve either gotten used to it or I have to go and access my account.”  
 We’ve had a couple of things occur that fortunately because of our systems, we were able to catch, but this happens all the time. We’ve had people where somebody hacked their email, they watched their emails and patiently waited until they identified, “Hey, this is a financial advisor.” They then sent us an email saying, “Hey, I need to withdraw money from my account. Can you please send us the forms that we need to do that?”  
 Now, our protocol is we don’t take those instructions ever via email. We always call the client and verify, but the reality is I call up a client and I go, “Hey, I just got your email. I want to make sure it’s you. You ask for some money and he goes, “I did not ask for any money.” And it’s like, “Okay, well, you’ve been hacked.” But I mean, if you didn’t have somebody on the other side that was doing that, I mean that’s how smart they are. So anyway, when you talk about online safety, I know you talk about it from maybe kids accessing online. Can we talk a little bit about maybe how you help people to appreciate what you can do to keep yourself safe online?  
Andy Murphy:Absolutely. One of the first things is chances are the person that experienced that kind of a personal breach was probably the victim of a phishing email and it’s spelled P-H-I-S-H-I-N-G. And so what a phishing email is is it looks like a legitimate email that somebody would send that has a link to it that says, “Hey, click to check out the deal on this product. Click here to schedule an appointment,” that sort of thing, but it’s a malicious link. It’s not what it says. It is.  
 Even though you may end up on a website that looks like what you think it is, it’s actually a malicious link and it’s very hard to tell. So what I tell people is to follow their intuition when they’re going through their email. If they don’t know who the sender is, don’t even open it. If you’re still curious about the subject line about, “Oh, hey, there’s some information in the subject here that looks good.” And you get into the body of the email and that email doesn’t sound like the person that sent it or it doesn’t quite sound professional, or maybe the language is a little bit different, delete it, don’t click on any of those links.  
 And also when you Google like if you want to Google Bank of America, the first thing you see on the Google page is an ad for what you presume is Bank of America. That’s not always the case. Google is so big, they allow so many advertisers that they can’t vet every single ad that comes into their system. So if you Google Bank of America, the first link that comes up may look like it’s part of Bank of America, but it may not be.  
 So I actually caution people don’t click on ads on Google searches because you don’t necessarily know if it’s legitimate or not. So those are two big things that you can do to make sure that your finances or that you’re going to be safe online. And speaking of doing your banking online, I was very resistant to that when it first started happening, gosh, maybe 15, 20 years ago I didn’t want to do it because I didn’t trust it.  
 But now, mail theft is happening so frequently now that you pretty much, now I’m telling people you do need to go online and do it because unfortunately we had a family member who had checks stolen out of their mailbox. They were still paying bills with checks and somebody came along, just grabbed, probably grabbed five or six houses worth of mail and then found a check, they were able to duplicate it, change it up and were writing checks out of somebody else’s account. Thankfully it was stopped, but this is one of the things I strongly caution people to do today is not send checks in the actual mail.  
Radon Stancil:Yeah. We actually had another firm that we know of what occurred there was very similar to the one I mentioned where they watched the email, the firm actually sent a form via email back to the person not knowing that it was intercepted. The person actually was a neighbor down the road from this person, meaning they were in their neighborhood, and they had actually gone through their trash and taken out something that had their signature on it so they could actually mock their signature or what is that word?  
Murs Tariq:Plagiarize.  
Radon Stancil:Yeah.  
Andy Murphy:Yeah.  
Murs Tariq:Copy, I know that.  
Radon Stancil:Copy. Yeah. Forge that’s the word [inaudible]. Forge. Forge their signature. The people out there that want to get information, do things. They are very, very good at what they do. They spend a lot of time trying to figure it out so those are great tips.  
Murs Tariq:Yeah. So I know a lot of the institutions now have implemented and at the beginning it kind of felt just a little annoying or maybe overkill, but now we’re seeing why, and that’s one of the major things is two-factor authentication.  
Andy Murphy:Yes. Yes.  
Murs Tariq:So can you speak a little bit to that? Maybe just explain how that works and why it’s so important when you’re logged. We believe and we tell people they should have it for all of their investment accounts, all of their banks, credit cards, pretty much anything that allows two-factor, they should have it.  
Andy Murphy:Absolutely. I agree with that and I’ll explain a little bit about two-factor authentication, and then I’ll explain in a very embarrassing story that happened to me just recently. So two-factor authentication, I suggest that you turn it on whenever you can. If you have the option, you can use an authenticator app, but there’s Microsoft Authenticator, there’s Google Authenticator where you can pull up an app on your phone and it gives you a code, you type it in and you’re good to go.  
 I’m going to suggest to people now that you use a text message to get that code back from your bank, from your financial institution, whatever it is, use that text number to get it back. So you do have to have your cell phone when you sit down to a computer. Now, where two-factor authentication is a double-edged sword because I recently got a new phone. And as smart as I am with this tech stuff, I forgot to export my Google Authenticator accounts to my new phone before I deleted the old one.  
 So I found myself digitally locked out of my own accounts. So that was frustrating. So I’ve had to go back and take very long steps, call customer service and say, “Yes, no, I am actually Andy Murphy and I just made an honest mistake.” So two-factor authentication actually works because I’m trying to circumvent it now and it’s actually very hard to do. So I do suggest that you do that. I would just use text notification instead of using an authenticator app because I was at one-time using a password manager from a very important prominent company that would keep all of your passwords in one place, you would use one master password, and use a plugin with your browser and your password would be brought up under that master password.  
 So everything was going great for a couple of days and then all of a sudden I go to lock in three or four days later, and I realized that my password, my master password isn’t working anymore for whatever reason. I don’t know why. Still to this day I don’t know. So I emailed customer service and they’re like, “Hey, we’re so strict with our passwords, we can’t rescue this. It’s in your vault. We can’t get it even as the company.” So I had to go back and reset all of those passwords and I learned a very important lesson and that is, don’t put all your eggs in one digital basket.  
 So while it is good to have strong, unique passwords or pass phrases, I actually caution people not to use password managers because I’ve personally had, I think probably a rare, unique hiccup in that process. But I also realized that I could lock myself out of my own digital accounts. So don’t necessarily put all your trust in something that’s on the cloud that you can’t physically get to.  
Radon Stancil:I know on your website and things, you talked about the whole family, what are some things because a lot of our listeners are grandparents. Some of them are still have small kids themselves, but the vast majority of our clients that are close to retirement are already in retirement where we’re talking about their grandchildren.  
 But what are some things that we might need to know if we’ve got younger kids that are obviously accessing things online? We’ve heard all kinds of horrible stories with people that try to take advantage of children. So do you have some tips for us there that we might be able to take along with us on that avenue?  
Andy Murphy:Sure. I mean, that can be, gosh, a podcast all into itself. I recently had Chris Hadnagy on The Secure Dad Podcast where we talked about this exactly. And that is episode number 182. So if you wanted to go in-depth on that, I would go and listen to that. But it’s basically, you have to teach your kids that while you may friend somebody on a video game, they’re not your friend in real life unless you actually know the person.  
 So try to get them to understand that that person actually is an internet stranger. They could be a good person. They could be a bad person. If your kids are online and they are chatting through a popular game as Roblox. And they’re messaging with what they call a friend and that friend says, “Hey, I don’t really want to chat on Roblox anymore. Are you on Lick or are you on Signal, or are you on some other platform?” Anytime a friend, and I use again, use that term loosely, wants to take the conversation to another platform that is a red flag. That’s something that every parent needs to be aware of.  
 Another thing that I will say with kids, this is different from just online safety. My wife and I actually chose to freeze our son’s credit because he is at this point nine, he’s not using it. So we’ve decided to freeze it until he’s 18 and then we’ll go back, and we will unfreeze it at that time because data breaches happen all of the time. Unfortunately, if you lived in the state of South Carolina, the government had an enormous data breach a few years ago where lots of Social Security numbers were exposed, and the citizens of South Carolina were not told about it until two weeks later.  
 So that was kind of a big scandal and it changed a few things in how companies run and how they have to notify their clients that a data breach has occurred. So we chose to freeze his credit just to give him that extra layer of protection. So I’ll ask you something. I was recently talking about this on another podcast and someone asked if whether or not people who are in retirement, people who already have access to all of their assets, should they freeze their credit in the older stages of life to be able to protect their name that way? What do you guys say to that?  
Murs Tariq:I’d say, why not? I think there’s nothing wrong with that. I think there’s an easy way to do it where you just call up the different companies, Equifax, TransUnion, you can do them individually and freeze them. The only thing there is and a lot of times when they’re in retirement, they’ve kind of got there things fixed and settled out. They know where they’re going to live. They’re probably not making any major purchases. They probably don’t need another credit card usually. And if that does come about, then you can always unfreeze it if needed. So I would say it couldn’t hurt. In the world that we live in today, I don’t think it could hurt.  
Andy Murphy:Okay, good to know. So next time somebody asks, I will say I’ve talked to professionals about it.  
Murs Tariq:So I think you’ve given us a lot of great information here today. And for anyone that’s listening, if they wanted to learn more about obviously you’re all about education, and it seems like you’ve got a few different modes of education. You’ve got a book, you’ve got a blog, you’ve got a podcast. It seems like you’ve got an online course. Tell us a little bit about those and how they could access and learn more.  
Andy Murphy:Sure. Everything is at thesecuredad.com and from there, you’ll be able to find the podcast, you’ll find my older blogs, you’ll find my online course and my two books. I’ve written one on home security called Home Security: The Secure Dad’s Guide. I’ve also recently published a password book called My Kids Wrecked My Brain and it’s a discreet password book based on my experience getting locked out of my passwords a few years ago. It looks like a parent self-help book, but inside it actually is a journal for you to keep clues to your password logins and also to your usernames that you can just set on a desk, and it doesn’t look like what it is.  
 So that’s one of the things that you can do. The Secure Dad Podcast, chances are you’re listening to this podcast right now. You can listen to it. It’s brand new every Wednesday and you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook with the username The Secure Dad.  
Radon Stancil:Well, fantastic. Thank you so much, Andy, for coming on and sharing some great tips with us today. We certainly do appreciate it. Thank you.  
Andy Murphy:Thank you, gentlemen.