Written by: James Ponds
Privacy is rare thanks to retailers and social media sites. That’s because some of your personal information is being gathered by businesses and identity thieves. Companies want to know about your internet habits so they can advertise more products and services. Identity thieves just want to steal your information. Here are some simple ways to protect your information.
Keep Your Social Media Private
Avoid oversharing on social media. While it can be hard, an identity thief can find details about your personal life and use it to answer questions to your online accounts. Before you know it, they can get access to your bank account and personal information. Consider setting your social media to private or to a select group of people if you plan to share the details of your personal life.
Never share your account numbers, address, full name, birth date, email address, phone number, or Social Security number on these websites. Look at each of your social media accounts to ensure they don’t have this type of information on them. The more information you share, the easier for your information to end up in the wrong hands. If you want to protect your information, you don’t want to fall into these bad habits.
Stay Alert to Impersonators
Be aware of who receives your financial or personal information. Don’t be willing to give out your personal information over email, phone, or text message unless you know who’s on the other end. If a company contacts you and asks for sensitive information, don’t click on the links within the e-mail or provide information over the phone.
Instead, search the company online and contact their customer service. Or, contact the customer service as listed on your statement. Find out if the company really requested your personal information. It’s also important not to give away sensitive information about your home and assets unless it’s through a Utah intellectual property attorney.
Secure Your Social Security Number
Don’t share your Social Security number with just anyone. The only people who should have access to your number is your bank, credit company or credit bureau, and a company that wants to conduct a background check. The IRS will also ask for this information. If an identity thief receives access to this number, they can use this information to steal your identity.
This means they can open bank accounts or credit cards in your name. Or, they can spend your money without your consent or knowledge. Even if a thief has the last four digits, they can easily guess the rest of the number. An identity thief with some computer knowledge can hack your information in no time.
Safely Dispose Personal Information
If you’re planning to get rid of your computer, you should remove all of the personal information that’s stored on it. This involves using a utility program that overwrites your hard drive. Before you dispose of a mobile device, you should reset it to factory settings. This will delete the information permanently and restore it to its original settings.
In addition, you should wipe the memory or subscriber identity module (SIM) card from your mobile device. Don’t forget to wipe information from the contacts list, list of calls made and received, messages sent and received, voicemails, web search history, and photos.
Use Private Browsing
If you don’t want anyone to see your internet habits, you should use private browsing. This setting is available in all of the major web browsers. It removes browsing history, cookies, and temporary internet files the moment you close the window. Every retailer that advertises online wants to know which sites their customers visit, what they buy, and what they share on social media. With a little information about your online activities, they create targeted ads used to make you buy something.
Most of this information collected by these companies are used in banner ads that track your demographic information, preferences, and website visits. If you want to protect your information, you’ll want to browse the internet anonymously by hiding your IP address. You can do this by using Tor or a Virtual Private Network (VPN).
Encrypt Your Data
You can also work to make your browser a lot more secure. To protect online transactions, use encryption software that protects the information you transmit over the internet. The lock icon in your web browser means that your information is safe the moment it’s entered. Locate this icon before you enter your financial or personal information.
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