How to Keep Your Privacy Online
From Russians hacking elections in the United States to data breaches at credit card companies, keeping your privacy online is becoming more and more difficult with each new year that feels like an inescapable hassle that everyone will have to deal with it some point. It’s almost as if you’re counting down the clock to win you’ll receive an email that your personal information has been exposed in a company’s breach of data.
Companies can only do so much when it comes to keeping your privacy online. Their main goal is to generate revenue, not to make sure that your information is not in the hands of anyone who should not have it. Yes, companies do try to ensure that your information isn’t going out to just anyone, but they only do so much. Even the well-known identity theft protection company LifeLock couldn’t escape the inevitable virtual pandemonium that is a data breach.
In the past year, high-profile companies like Panera Bread, Under Armour, Saks Fifth Avenue, and TicketMaster faced significance attacks that were aimed at getting consumer data outside of the company. These attacks were not just limited to high profile companies that most of us would know. Even locations like the University of Buffalo and the Chicago public school system had two of the most significant data breaches for the year.
So What Can You Do?
How can you keep your privacy online and make sure that your personal information isn’t getting out to the public in a way that you have an approved? Here are two ways that you can make sure that your personal information stays secure without feeling like you’re giving up all of your technology.
Change Your Social Media Settings
This sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t check their social media settings. It’s not just about making your account private or only open to friends and family that you know very well because you’re not sure that you want everyone to see that silly cat video that you shared the other day.
If you’re not a person who’s on social media a lot, then you’ll want to keep your settings to a minimum as far as who can see your posts and other information. If you’re a business person, make sure to set up a separate social media page or account for your business and keep your personal social media pages private for only friends and family.
Pro Tip: Check sites like White Pages to make sure your information isn’t listed there.
Don’t Get Phished
While fishing can sound relaxing, this isn’t the kind of fishing that you want to do. Phishing scams still trick people as scammers get more and more innovative with how they convince people to give them their information.
There are many recurring phishing scams. In one frequent type of scam an identity thief will pretend to be the close relative of someone that they could find easily on social media or by email. They then pose as a relative and say that they lost their passport in a foreign country and need money immediately. Many people do not bother to check these stories and end up sending money to someone who actually was not their relative that they thought was in dire need. Always check with your family members or friends directly to make sure this is not a scam.
This is the kind of phishing scam that catches people off-guard. Even though it sounds implausible, it’s a story that tugs at the heartstrings and makes people do what they probably wouldn’t otherwise do in a normal situation. Be on the lookout for anything that seems a little odd to you as far as an email from friends or businesses that you know. It’s good to double-check and be sure that you’re receiving this information from the actual person who supposedly sent it.
These are just some of the ways that you can protect yourself online and make sure that your privacy is still intact. Remember, your online privacy is in your hands. It’s up to you to protect your information.