One can never be too cautious when it comes to the amount of personal information shared on social media. The more information you make available, the easier it may be for criminals to access your data, steal your identity, or begin to stalk you. Here are some of the top reasons to keep personal information private, provided by https://unmask.com/
Information Safety: The Exception Rather Than the Rule
Almost two-thirds of Americans suffered from data breach and had personal data exposed, according to a Pew Research Center study. Of them, over a third, had important information compromised. 41% became victims of credit card fraud. 13% lost control of their social network accounts to an imposter. 16% of email accounts were hacked, and 14% reported someone tried to get a loan in their name.
Protecting Your PII
Personally identifiable information (PII) is the most important kind of information to protect. Examples of such information are names, addresses, personal ID numbers, vehicle title or ID numbers, biometrics, phone numbers, and IP addresses. We’ll go into the details below.
Always keep your full name private, in addition to your mother’s maiden name.
Never part with any of your personal ID numbers. These can include tax numbers, social security numbers, passport numbers, driver’s license numbers, and financial accounts. Finally, it’s important to keep not only your physical address private, but also your email.
Contrary to how it may seem, this list doesn’t cover all the personal data one should not share on social media. Your posts are not something to be taken lightly, because they can give away your identity, particularly when combined with the information above. This also goes for posts about you, including posts mentioning you and things shared to your timeline on Facebook, for example.
Protecting Financial Data
Failing to protect financial data puts it at risk of being used by cybercriminals to make unauthorized transfers, withdrawals, or purchases. Do not rely on the encryption of financial sites; it may be there, but you can never be too cautious. Have a two-factor authentication enabled on your accounts. This is an extra step that involves entering a secret code emailed to you when you try to log in and make a payment online, for instance.
Don’t use obvious passwords like your year of birth and “password.” A strong password should have upper and lower case letters, symbols, and numbers. It should have at least 12 characters, not include obvious replacements like the number 0 for the letter “o”, and be a made-up word.
How can Securing Personal Information Help You?
Keeping personal information safe can help prevent identity theft, which is probably the most important reason to make this effort. This happens when an unauthorized entity acquires access to your personal information and presents itself as you on the internet. These people can commit tax fraud and other cybercrimes while posing as you. Your online reputation might never recover from the consequences of identity theft, which can have severe ramifications for your digital privacy.
In 2017, there were nearly 17 million victims of identity theft, according to a Javelin Strategy & Research report. This number is on the rise as the number of Internet users increases.
How to Protect Yourself?
Don’t provide your personal data to anyone who sends you an email requesting it or calls you on the phone. Don’t click on links, attachments, or ads if you get an email from an associated business because you might inadvertently download a virus. Some viruses can scan your whole computer, and criminals will get all that data. Make an effort to verify whether the business really did send you this email. Contact them by phone and ask if they did.
Don’t fill out more fields than are required. If you have to fill out an online form or profile to get access to a service or product, give as few details as possible and only fill out the bare minimum.
Keep your Social Security card in a safe place. Don’t carry it around with you unless you’re going to the doctor’s office. You can make a copy and delete all but the last four digits.
You can choose to opt-out of so-called “people-search” sites. These are data brokers who provide your data in exchange for payment. Finally, erase all the information on old devices before throwing them away to be extra safe.