10 Easy Ways to Protect Your Privacy

In the Information Age, your personal data is everywhere and more valuable than ever. It’s no wonder identity theft is on the rise across the globe. Here are 10 easy ways to protect your privacy:

  1. Safely Dispose of Old Documents

One of the easiest ways for a thief to invade your privacy is to steal discarded documents from the trash.   Protect your privacy by investing in a residential pickup shredding service. A uniformed driver picks up your old paperwork, including things like credit card statements, utility bills and tax records, and transports them to a shredding plant for NAID AAA Certified destruction.

  1. Use Public Wi-Fi Sparingly

Think twice before you log on to your local coffee shop’s network. Public Wi-Fi networks are easy targets for hackers. Stay safe when you’re on the go by installing a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your laptop and mobile devices.  

  1. Update Your Computer

The operating system update alerts on your computer may be annoying, but they serve a purpose: to protect you from new security threats. Don’t ignore them. Instead, set your computer to update security patches regularly and automatically.    

  1. Think before You Post

Social media websites are great for staying in touch with family and friends. But cyber-criminals also scour them looking for carelessly posted personal information. As a result, never share your birth date, address, phone number and other personal data on Facebook, and other social media websites.

  1. Backup Your Data

You probably have a treasure trove of medical information, financial documents and photos on your computer. Viruses and ransom ware can make them vanish in an instant. Make backup a habit. A cloud backup service automatically backs up your files and securely stores them in a digital data center.  

  1. Destroy Old Storage Media

Sensitive data can be gleaned from old computer disks and hard drives, even after the files are deleted. You can make sure your old digital devices and storage media are completely unreadable by using a hard drive shredding service. Your media is destroyed in a specialized shredder that grinds tapes and hard drives into small particles, rendering all data irrecoverable.

  1. Keep Your Laptop Out of Sight

It’s easier for a thief to steal your laptop than for him to hack your data. Never leave your laptop unattended, even for a few minutes. Security experts also recommend encrypting your hard drive so if your laptop is stolen, a thief will have a harder time accessing your personal files.

  1. Don’t Offer Personal Info over the Phone

Telephone fraud is also on the rise. Be wary if you receive a phone call from the IRS or another seemingly official organization. It’s probably a scam. If these institutions need to contact you, they will do so by mail.   

  1. Use Strong Passwords and Two Factor Authentication

Weak passwords increase the risk of identity theft. Use passwords with combinations of numbers, letters and special characters and set up two-factor authentication to access your email and other frequently visited websites. Also consider using a password manager application, which generates unique, encrypted passwords for each website you log on to, stores them in a vault, and automatically completes your login information for you.

  1. Check Your Credit Report

Your identity could already be stolen and you may not even know it. Check your credit report to make sure nobody has applied for unauthorized loans or credit in your name. Each of the big three credit agencies allows you to request a free credit report annually.  

Follow these steps to help you keep your personal data secure.

Richards & Richards provides information management and data protection services for businesses throughout Nashville. For more information, please contact us by phone or complete the form on this page.