Protecting your personal information online is becoming increasingly difficult with new technologies and methods of infiltrating social media networks, email platforms, and online communities. With a few tips that are optimal for an additional layer of protection while online, feel a sense of relief while browsing and communicating with family and friends.
1- Remain Mindful When Creating Social Media Profiles
Setting up social media profiles provides you with the opportunity to connect with family and friends regularly. However, it is important not to overshare on social media if you want to maintain a sense of privacy any time you are online. Avoid sharing specific locations when posting updates to minimize the risk of becoming a target of a burglary, robbery, or online theft. Do not share photos of your children and other members of your household if your social media profiles are set to private and available for the world to see.
While it is possible to avoid social media altogether online, millions of individuals log on each day to stay connected to friends and loved ones in their lives. If you want to maintain a social media profile, check and update your current privacy settings to ensure your content is only shared with those who you have allowed on your friends’ list. Verify that any posts you share are only visible to the audience you choose rather than posting publicly, making you a potential target for hackers and online thieves. Update your privacy settings on social media networks along with any online communities you join for an additional layer of protection and online security.
2- Set Proper Passwords
Create strong passwords when registering as a user on any website or social media platform. Use a password generator along with a password manager to keep track of difficult passwords that are difficult to remember. Always utilize numerical keys along with special keys and varying capitalization to maximize your protection from having your account hacked and accessed unknowingly.
Use fake answers when completing security questions while registering as a member for a new website or online community. Avoid using authentic answers to questions such as “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What city were you born in?” as this information is much easier for hackers and thieves to find and use against you.
3- Avoid Communicating With Scammers and Impersonators
Impersonators and scammers run rampant online, targeting users who are unfamiliar with how the internet works and the potential danger that lurks on social media, email, and other popular platforms. Due to the influx of scammers and hackers, it is imperative to remain aware of anyone who attempts to contact or message you if you do not know who they are or anything about them. Online hackers and identity thieves target naive internet users who are looking to reconnect with colleagues or want to get in touch with long-lost friends. Remaining skeptical when speaking to strangers on the internet is a way to protect yourself from falling for a potential scam.
4- Avoid Sharing Your Social Security Number Online
Never share your social security number online unless you are doing so through an official banking or financial institution you trust. Research any website that requests your social security number, even if they are only interested in the last four digits of your number. Sharing your social security number on a website that is not safe and secure opens up the possibility of experiencing identity theft and having your number used to open credit cards and to negatively impact your financial standing.
5- Set Up a Google Alert for Additional Protection
Use Google alerts to track your name and any specific details about your family, address, and location. Google alerts are sent directly to your email or phone (depending on your preferences) to inform you of any news or updates online that are relevant to you and your personal information.
Remaining aware of your surroundings while online and what websites you are visiting helps to drastically reduce the risk of having your personal information stolen, sold, or used illegally and without your permission. When you are aware of the most current types of hacking and identity theft scams, protect yourself from becoming a victim and another statistic.