Being connected to the world through the internet is fantastic, but each time you connect, you are putting your privacy at risk. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to protect your privacy today, tomorrow, and well into the future. Here are a few privacy tips to get you started.
Privacy Tip #1: Check to See if You’ve Been Involved in a Data Breach: Has your email been breached? You can check your status online at HaveIBeenPwned.com. If there are any results, change your passwords, immediately.
Privacy Tip #2: Stop Automatic Wi-Fi Connections: Though it’s convenient, consider stopping automatic connections to Wi-Fi. You never know when you will connect to a fake or dangerous one.
Privacy Tip #3: Check to See if Your Data Has Been Shared: Always check Terms of Service to see who shares your data and why. A lot of companies do this, but you can often opt out.
Privacy Tip #4: Automatically Update: Always enable automatic updates on your electronics. These keep you very safe. Also, upgrade to the latest software available, if possible, i.e. Windows 10 is much safer than older versions.
Privacy Tip #5: Lock All Devices: Any phone, tablet, or computer should be protected with a password – no exceptions. Don’t use common passwords or PINs like 1111 or 1234. Also, don’t use anything too personal, such as your birthdate or pet’s name. Passwords should be difficult to guess, and the best are even difficult for you to remember. If you can’t remember them, use a password manager.
Privacy Tip #6: Start Shredding: You don’t have to shred all paper documents, but you should shred any documents with your Social Security number, birthday, account number, insurance number, or credit card number. I shred anything that anyone can use to scam me or anyone else over the phone or via email.
Privacy Tip #7: Don’t Accept Credit Card Offers: Stop getting credit card offers by mail at OptOutPreScreen.com. Speaking of mail, also go to DMAChoice.org to remove your address from mailing lists. Also, make sure you are opening and examining your bills for fraudulent charges.
Privacy Tip #8: Protect Your Kids: Kids are more than 51 percent more likely than adults to be targeted for identity theft. If your child starts getting strange mail, like credit card offers, there is a huge problem. Lock down their credit, now. Identity theft protection and a credit freeze are viable options for kids.
Privacy Tip #9: Keep Your Computer Safe: When using your computer, whether it is at home or on the go, make sure you restrict file sharing, use a firewall and antivirus software, back up your data, and encrypt your files.
Privacy Tip #10: Be Careful on Social Media: It’s easy to go overboard when sharing on social media, but you should stop this, because the bad guys are watching. Don’t share private information, such as your full birthdate, or other personal information about yourself.
In addition to the above tips, it’s also a good idea to invest in comprehensive identity theft protection. The unfortunate reality is that you can do all the above to protect your privacy and still end up a victim of fraud. The good news is identity theft protection requires no effort or administration and works behind the scenes, watching your back 24/7.