November 16, 2016 | Posted in:

5 Simple Steps to Protect Your Online Privacy

You’ve probably become pretty dependent on your smartphone and ability to connect to the internet anytime, anywhere, right?


Not only are scammers betting that you’re connected at all times to share details, check-in to locations, or access files, but they’re also scheming ways to take advantage of your lax approach to security.

How often do you use a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer to connect with friends, make purchases, or share health concerns with your doctor? Each time you submit information on your reliable little device, your privacy may be at risk.
Companies called “data brokers” routinely compile information about your habits and preferences, including your favorite brands, recreational pursuits, and credit habits. Data brokers use this information to create profiles and scoring models, which are then sold to retailers, advertisers, and other organizations. Although much of this activity is legitimate and may even help you snag a good deal, being careful when sharing personal information is always prudent.

Here are five suggestions to be more cognizant about your digital footprint:


  • 1. Post with care on social media. At best, data-mining companies may scour your profile to create a consumer file that’s sold to marketers. At worst, fraudsters may use your posts to steal your identity or break into your house when you’re on vacation.
  • 2. Beware free Wi-Fi. Some retailers use cell phone networks to keep track of the aisles you visit in their stores. Your local coffee shop might have a free — but unsecured — network. By logging on, you may unwittingly provide access to private information on your laptop or phone.
  • 3. Delete cookies. Small text files called “cookies” can be created and stored on your computer when you visit websites. Although cookies usually cannot be used to reveal personally identifying information, in some cases marketing firms may use the data to create a profile of your surfing habits. Clear your browsing history and delete cookies on a regular basis. Use your browser’s “privacy” settings to make this task happen automatically.
  • 4. Lock down and protect your devices. You wouldn’t leave town with your doors unlocked. Don’t make the same mistake with your mobile devices and computers. Establish a boot and/or reactivation password on each device. Use a cable lock when leaving your laptop in public places. Install anti-virus software on all mobile devices, and keep a watchful eye on easily stolen electronics.
  • 5. Pay with cash. If you don’t want strangers to learn your purchasing habits, go “old school” by using currency. Sometimes that’s the best way to keep private information to yourself.

We have more suggestions for ensuring that your privacy and personal data are not compromised. Contact us.

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The information contained in this site is of a general nature and should not be acted upon in your specific situation without further details and/or professional assistance.


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