Have you ever noticed that after searching the web for something you like or need you suddenly start getting ads related to your search? People normally take this as a normal harmless thing. But there is a lot more to it. Internet companies store information from every single user of the web, and this information could be potentially used for wrong doing and not just for advertising purposes. Think no one is watching or monitoring you? Try telling that to the couple who searched Google for a pressure cooker and backpack and had a swat team show up at their door! More Americans are now looking for a ways to keep the government out of their business.
Searching in a private way protects people´s privacy and reduces the risks of being victim to online dangers like identity theft and internet fraud.
But, searching the internet privately can do far more than keeping you safe from online dangers such as scams, fraud and identity theft. Government intrusion results in your loss of freedom and serious loss of liberty, but it can also lead to real world crimes and problems. All data being recorded about you, where you search, who you are, what your history is, can potentially be accessed by criminals or agencies to use against you.
When using the web, we leave a trace of everything we do, and what we do online reveals lots of things. For instance, if we have searched for toys and a few days later searched for kids clothes then we are basically revealing we have kids, their gender, probably an approximate age, etc. And the same happens with anything else; criminals can easily retrieve information revealing our financial status and possibilities, interests, and many other things based on what we have searched and what we post online. Paying for things on the Internet is easy and convenient, but ask yourself how many people and companies, over the years, have you given your credit card, billing information, social security number, home address and date of birth to. The result is probably dozens if not hundreds! This by default puts you at high risk. With rights and privacy disappearing more each you, Internet users have a few choices to fight back. Here are some tips from Wymoo´s investigation team to protect your privacy:
Take a good look at the search engine you use
The biggest search engines are being questioned all over the world due to the way they handle users’ data. Screening personal emails and storing search information for long periods of time are some of the greatest concerns. Many people consider that the reasons why they store it –better ad allocation and fighting terrorism- are not sufficient to justify their practices. Your personal communication and location is private and should not be read or shared. Gmail and Google device users are prime targets for information and data collection, and geo location data (where you are and when) is just the latest in scary tactics being used to control you. Turn all geo location services off when possible.
Until there are no clear regulations on this subject, the best option is to use a search engine that does not store your information and data, like DuckDuckGo. This search engine will help you search just the way you are used to, without tracking what you do. Your personal information will not be collected or shared with anyone. Better yet, the search engine will not put you in a search bubble or feed you biased or filtered results.
Use a specialized VPN for your searches
Connecting through VPN´s (Virtual Private Networks) has been mistakenly taken as something only criminals or people who want to hide things do. The truth is that using a VPN can help normal honest people protect their privacy when searching online. An option for those that want to continue using their traditional search engines is Disconnect Search, that provides a connection through a VPN, and allowing you to remain anonymous while you search. This service does not log searches, IP addresses or any personal information. The Disconnect add on for your Internet browser is an excellent tool to keep companies, websites and advertisers from collecting your data and search history! Install this great tool and you’ll be surprised or even shocked to see how many advertisers and third parties are tracking you on your favorite websites.
Learn more about privacy settings and policies
It is important that users read and learn how to use the privacy settings of the Internet services they often use. Social networks have their rules, browsers have their own rules as well. “Many of the victims of online fraud, or serious crimes that originate on the Internet, have no idea of how criminals got a hold of their information. It´s important to know that everything you do online, unless you take the right measures, can and likely will eventually fall into the wrong hands,” says one of the investigators at Wymoo®. For safer searches check your browser´s settings for options like telling websites you do not want to be tracked, and delete your cookies every time you close the browser. Changing your browser settings to delete cookies every time you close your browser or turn off your computer is one of the most important steps you can take. Some browsers like Firefox have an option to clear the history when it closes. Check the options available and set your browser to the maximum privacy setting.
Avoiding online dangers can also be a matter of life or death, so please, take it seriously! Any law enforcement agency can tell you that more real world crime, including blackmail, harrassment, robbery and theft, assault, rape and even homicide now sometimes start on the Internet. Criminals often use the Internet as a tool to gather information on their victim. Criminals love Google Street View, for example, to get an idea on how to enter your house or property. The industry of data brokers and “public records” is also putting consumers at risk, so try to keep a low profile. Investigators say the less you share online and on public record, the safer you and your family members are. If you use Facebook or other social media, check your privacy settings and consider sharing less! Better still, consider meeting or discussing with your “friends” in person.
If you’ve recently met someone you’re not sure about, get professional help from international private investigators. Don’t be a victim of crime due to the growing loss of privacy. Fight back, demand changes from your elected officials, and verify.
© 2015 Wymoo International
© Copyright 2015 Wymoo International. All Rights Reserved. This content is the property of Wymoo International, LLC and is protected by United States of America and international copyright laws. Wymoo® is a registered trademark.