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10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy and Stay Safe

10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy and Stay Safe

As technology increases to our advantage, it also increases the likelihood that our privacy will be compromised. Each new mobile app that legitimately tries to make our lives easier likely has a counterfeit evil twin designed to try to defraud you. Protecting your privacy both online and in real life should be a top priority in keeping your financial security and maintaining your reputation.

What’s the real risk?

A wide variety of consequences are involved when your privacy has been compromised. You can be subjected to anything from identity theft to exploitation or blackmail.  Even assault and homicide victims are often first targeted using the tools of the Internet.  Rapists and murderers use Google Maps too.  Even on a lower scale, a privacy hack could cause unsolicited marketing whether by phone, email or through postal mail. While tossing out junk mail or clicking “spam” on an email address might not be that big of a deal, receiving unwanted phone calls at all hours of the day can become obnoxious and exhausting.  Phishing scams and data brokers are another evil.  Satellite images of your home are great for those meaning you harm.

What you should know

It’s possible your privacy is being compromised without you even realizing it. Anytime you use an unsecured Wi-Fi network, criminals could be waiting. Unencrypted emails can be monitored. Sometimes, it’s something like not having a strong enough password that allows hackers to make you their next victim. There are viruses that can hide behind the scenes and capture every keystroke you make. There are even people who dive into dumpsters looking for bank statements or personal information about you.

And these days, it’s not just criminals, but your own government you have to worry about!

There are a variety of resources available for how to stay safe online and offline, but here are some specific ways you can protect your privacy.  Private investigators know the less about your in public view, the safer you and your family members are.  Law enforcement agencies and government officials know this all too well, and that is why their information is not on public record.  Doesn’t seem fair does it?  For more information, be sure to learn how to keep the government of your business!

  1. Stay tightlipped. Be cautious with what you say on social networks, especially any random facts that may be clues to your password or answers to security questions on other websites. Avoid using your full name or revealing your full date of birth. NEVER reveal your social security number or bank account information. There are multiple scams on Facebook and others that you must be aware of in order to avoid them.  Remember to share less online to stay safe.
  2. Create strong passwords. Use a variety of passwords and make each one strong by mixing letters, numbers and symbols, as well as capitalization.  Remember to change them twice a year.
  3. Separate email addresses. Do not take care of personal matters at work or even at home through your work account. Do not send any personal information via unencrypted email either.  Create two accounts.  One for people you know, and one for the rest.  Never include your full name on your email account.   Your first name and last initial is a good practice.
  4. Be careful in public. When you work on a public computer, check for any kind of USB plug in that could be capturing the information. If you are on your own computer but in a public place, make sure no one can view what you are typing on your screen. It is also wise to avoid financial transactions or checking your bank account website using an unsecured Wi-Fi network.
  5. Keep your antivirus up to date. Set up a daily or weekly scan for malware that may have found its way to your computer or mobile devices.  If you use email and the Internet, not matter how careful you are, you still might bet a virus that can steal your information and passwords or be used against you.
  6. Always log out of websites. Do not just close the window. Many websites will “remember” you when you go again and if you have not logged out, those sites will automatically give access to your information to the next person who arrives there.
  7. Use a shredder.  Shred any documents you no longer need, even junk mail. Identity theft is nothing to play around with, and it’s not the only crime that can be used if the wrong people get your data.
  8. Never use geo trackers.  Many apps are available these days attempting to make lives easier but users don’t often question the security of using them. Know what you are using and who is seeing what you are doing.  Never use a location tracker or app on your phone or Facebook.  Letting people where you are and when is a very bad idea.  Not at home, or home alone?  That’s private.
  9. Try DuckDuckGo.  Say no to Google and the U.S. government snoopers, and say yes to new search engines that are serious about your privacy such as DuckDuckGo.  This way you can surf the internet without being monitored and recorded.  In addition, update your internet browser settings on Chrome, Firefox, Safari or IE to delete all cookies every time you close.
  10. Use a PO Box.  Get a PO Box and use it for everything.  You can even put in a change of address at the nearest post office.  This will not only go a super long way in protecting your privacy and keeping you safe, but will stop the never ending junk mail problem.

Overall, it’s important to remember that your privacy can be compromised both online and offline. Many people have one side covered but don’t realize that crime happens because of opportunity. If you aren’t doing everything in your power to cover every end, your information becomes vulnerable. Being aware of your weaknesses will ensure you can improve your safety and protect your privacy.

C. Wright
© 2014 Wymoo International
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© Copyright 2014 Wymoo International.  All Rights Reserved.  This content is the property of Wymoo International, LLC and is protected by United States and international copyright laws.

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