6 Privacy Resolutions for the New Year
Welcome to the New Year! While most of us are focusing on New Year’s resolutions for our bad habits, there is one habit most are overlooking: online behavior. Protecting yourself online is one of the most important habits you should be implementing into your daily life and teaching your children. Many of us do not know exactly where to begin in regards to online protection. Lauth Investigations International, Inc. works with clients, individuals and corporations, daily to ensure personal and professional protection online.
Sites like Facebook and Instagram allow us to share our life with the world via the internet; however, we should not get too used to sharing our lives with loved ones and forget to protect ourselves. Online privacy is essential to protect your family from all kinds of predators. Below are 5 easy ways to assist in personal protection from fraud, identity theft, and/or unwanted wandering eyes.
- Use Password Creativity
Lack of password protection is one of the major ways people fall victim to identity theft or hacking. It’s important to make sure your passwords are complicated and secure in order to ensure your different accounts are safe. Whether it’s banking, social media, or online retailers, creative passwords are needed for security. Below are just a few practices to consider when managing your passwords:
- Change your password every two months;
- Never repeat a previous or current password;
- Avoid obvious personal data, including dates and names;
- Store your passwords away from your devices. Write them down in one location in an easy to access yet discreet location..
- Keep Updated On Current Scams When it comes to protection and security, knowledge is power. Online scammers are continuously getting smarter and inventing new versions of buying and selling scams, dating scams, and inheritance scams. Be proactive when protecting yourself from being scammed, continue to be educated on new scams being utilized online. Lauth Investigations International, Inc. is a great resource providing weekly blogs on safety and personal protection, including but not limited to, fraud, identity theft, online scams, and more.Check out our article about dating scams here.
- Social Media Privacy SettingsSocial media is a great way to keep in touch with friends and family and share special events and moments from your life. However, your social media page is also a gold mine for anyone trying to steal your identity, stalk you, or harass you in any way. Make sure your privacy settings on your social media accounts are up to date. Never share any posts about where you live, your daily routine, or your children’s names publicly. Limit the amount of information on your profile. Consistently review your friend list and “defriend” anyone who you don’t know personally. Oftentimes, our friend list fills up over the years with people we don’t really know leading to privacy breaches without us realizing it.
For more information on how mothers can protect their kids online, check out this blog article.
- Use Encrypted MessagingOur messages are some of the most private things we store online, and yet they are often some of the least protected. If you are sending sensitive information through online messaging, consider what application you are using to send these messages. Whatsapp has a secure line which may be used for casual conversations you may want to protect. Signal, the secure messaging application recommended by Edward Snowden, is another application to consider. As of 2016, Facebook Messenger has implemented a “secret conversations” feature you can access by clicking on the “secret” button at the top of the “New Message” option.
- Embrace 2 Factor Authentication2 factor authentication is a secure feature offered by most online resources requiring a back-up verification method, text message or email, in order to log on. If you’ve ever logged onto your email from a new computer and received a notification you need to enter a code in order to access your account, you have already used two factor authentication. Two Factor Authentication is one of the best ways to protect your account from hacking. It has been widely considered to be the way of the future when it comes to online security. Although it may slow you down due to the extra step when logging on, if you really need to ensure your information stays secure, 2 Factor Authentication is the best way.
- Never give information or money up frontUltimately, the best way to avoid being scammed online is to be wary of anyone who asks you for money or security information up front. If you ever have doubt about a company who is trying to collect your information, you should be able to trace their information to a secure office and speak to a representative on the phone. Also, look at online reviews to see if other people have already complained about this company. Oftentimes, if a company is fraudulent, they have a paper trail of victims who have tried to warn other people through online complaints or reviews. Do your research before completing a transaction with anyone online, whether it be a dating site, a Craigslist purchase, or a stock investment.Almost everyone has embraced the online world, and it’s becoming next to impossible to keep all your personal information offline. Being smart about how you share and who you share with can keep you secure and allow you to take advantage of all the benefits of the internet without the risks.