Fortunately, it’s not that difficult to protect yourself. Using the following tactics and online habits you can keep your information much safer, and not take up a lot of your time.
Opt Out Of People Search Websites
People search sites like Whitepages collect your personal info from public records and make it available to anyone with an internet connection. Details like your name, address, contact information, and more can all be found on these sites.
If you want to keep your personal information safe it’s essential that you remove yourself from sites like this. The good news is that people search sites have to honor your request for removal, so it’s as simple as completing the opt-out process.
In order to find which of these sites have your information, you should start by searching your name on Google. These listings regularly get indexed by search engines which makes this a very quick way to find what’s out there.
Once you know what sites you need to deal with, look for their removal page. If you’re having trouble finding it we recommend checking the footer of the homepage (they commonly hide them down there).
Maintain Your Computer And Software
If you neglect to maintain your computer, there’s a chance that someone might be able to access your personal information. This is commonly done by injecting a virus onto your device through outdated software or a corrupted file.
This can lead to a number of serious problems. For example, there’s a virus that can log your keystrokes and find out what passwords you use when accessing certain websites.
To keep yourself safe, always scan your computer with trusted antivirus programs and keep your software updated. These are two simple but highly effective ways to make sure your internet privacy stays intact.
A surprising amount of personal information that makes its way into the hands of third parties comes from the victim themselves. With so many methods of communication seamlessly integrated into our lives, it has become easy to slip up.
To combat this, reframe how you view the websites and social media accounts you regularly use. Any website can get hacked (no matter how big they are) and you can never be entirely sure who you’re speaking with online.
Even on social media where you think that you’re interacting with people you know, you might not be. Facebook has acknowledged that they have a significant amount of fake users and are constantly working to remove more.
If you assume that any personal information you share online can be seen by someone you don’t know, you’ll avoid shooting yourself in the foot.
Only Purchase From Secure Websites
This is another avoidable mistake that can lead to your personal information being accessed and shared online. Websites that aren’t secure are much more likely to be hacked, and they’ll have access to payment information that you definitely want to keep private. The easiest way to prevent this from happening is to simply not purchase from them in the first place.
Always look at the URL of any website you want to buy from before submitting your information. If you don’t see “HTTPS” at the beginning then you’ll want to move on. Some browsers will show a lock icon to help make this apparent as well.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
This is a fantastic tool that you can use as a last line of defense to prevent someone from accessing your personal information. Using two-factor authentication means you need to confirm any login attempt (usually with a code sent via text message) in order to access that specific account.
This prevents unwanted parties from being able to do anything if they somehow get their hands on your login credentials. Not only will they be unable to access your account, but you will then be aware that you need to change your login details.
If you follow these recommendations you’ll be well on your way to keeping your personal information safe online. While some hacks and breaches are unavoidable, many more are.
Simply follow these steps and stick to sound practices when using the web. You’ll be amazed at how effective this can be!
Sabrina Clark is a marketing professional specializing in startups in the technology and Internet space. Sabrina is the Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications at BrandYourself, helping people take control of Google search results for their own name and establish a positive online reputation.