Ways to Keep Your Personal Information Secure
In today’s world, where most things are done electronically, keeping your personal information secure is a priority. As experts from Faxburner.com say, “Oftentimes, the internet is the common denominator among hacking incidents. From personal emails to corporate networks and government websites, skilled hackers can compromise firewalls and security safeguards, and gain access to all kinds of networks.”
Keeping your personal information secure is a crucial part of preventing identity theft from happening. While there has been a lot of talk about keeping it safe on the internet, many people seem to forget that securing your information offline is just as important as securing it online.
So, how can you keep your information safe, both offline and online? Keep reading if you want to find out!
How To Keep Your Personal Information Secure Online
Firstly, let’s focus on how you can keep your personal information secure online, as the internet is the place where people spend the majority of their free time.
Know Who’s Getting Your Information
One of the easiest ways to keep your information safe is to make sure that you know who is actually getting it. For this purpose, do not share it through an email, or during a phone call that you didn’t initiate.
Sometimes hackers might send out an email that looks so professional that you believe you have some connection to the sending company. If you receive an email with a request for personal information, don’t respond. Instead, google the company, and make sure that they’ve really sent the request you have received.
Encrypt The Data You’re Sending
One of the best ways of encrypting your data is by using a VPN connection – when it is turned on, and someone manages to hack your personal information, it will not make sense to them, as the VPN will make it look like gibberish.
Be Careful About Your Passwords
Having strong passwords for all the important websites that you use is crucial – it doesn’t matter if it’s your bank account, tax office login, or just your Facebook account – a strong password is a must, not a choice.
The perfect password shouldn’t be obvious, for instance, your date of birth or your children’s date of birth. The word ‘password’ is also not your best bet. To make it unique, try using capital letters, small letters, numbers, and special symbols, such as a hyphen or semicolon. If you can, use two-factor authorization. Also, change your passwords quite often.
Keep Some Things Private
One of the common mistakes that people now make is oversharing on social media – they don’t realize how much information a person can gather from a post that, at first glance, seems innocent. What’s more, don’t post things like your address or phone number, and especially do not post your Social Security number or an account number on a website to which everyone has access.
How To Keep Your Personal Information Secure Offline
You have to keep in mind that data and identity theft go beyond the internet – after all, thieves have been stealing identities for many years, way before the web was invented. That’s why, when trying to keep your personal information secure, you have to think not only about online security measures that need to be taken but also about those IRL (in real life).
Lock Up Important Documents
All the documents should be locked in a safe place that is not easily accessible so that you can protect them from roommates, cleaning or maintenance crew, or other people entering your home (especially if you don’t know them on a personal level). Documents that should be protected in this way include:
- birth certificates
- bank/credit card statements
- medical records
If you work in a place that allows you to lock up your personal items – do it. This way, you can make sure that your wallet or your purse will not be stolen when you’re busy.
Do Not Carry Everything With Yourself
One of the most common mistakes people make is taking too many items that include personal information. If you are going somewhere, just take the necessary items – your driver’s license or another form of identification, and a credit/debit card you are planning on using while out.
Unless you have to bring it with you, for example, to show your new employer on the first day of work, do not carry your Social Security card. The same thing goes for the Medicare card – instead, you can make a copy of it, and black out the four last digits of the ID number. Unless you have to show the original at the doctor’s office, carry the copy with you.
Destroy Documents That Include Sensitive Information
We all know that documents like checks, bank statements, insurance forms, and so on need to be either hidden or destroyed. However, many others can put your personal information at risk, without you even knowing it. Those include:
- credit card offers
- credit applications
- expired charge cards
- prescription labels
Destroy all of the documents mentioned above if you have them, as well as labels on prescription medications. All of these contain information that thieves and scammers might be able to use against you.
Keeping your personal information secure should be a priority both offline and online, as data and identity thefts happen more often than you can imagine. After all, removing the damage that it will cause is way more challenging than taking all the necessary precautions. If you can, try to implement some changes now