10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy in 2020

A person with multiple speech bubbles surrounding their head. Each speech bubble has a different icon. The largest speech bubble reads "Protect Your Identity"

First the bad news: your privacy is more vulnerable than ever. Attackers have an array of unlimited tools and methods to steal your personal information. The good news is you can do something about it. In this blog, we offer ten ways you can protect your privacy in 2020.

Use a Residential Shredding Service

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 shredding service. Bring your documents to a plant for walk-in and drop-off shredding.

Avoid Using Public WiFi Networks

Hackers lurk on public WiFi networks. If you need to connect to the internet while on the go, use your mobile data connection and install a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on your laptop and mobile devices.

Check Your Credit Report

Monitoring your credit report can alert you to identity theft. Each of the big three credit agencies allows you to request a free credit report annually. Request your report and check it to make sure no one has applied for unauthorized loans or credit in your name.

Update Your Computer

The operating system update alerts on your computer may annoy you, but they serve a purpose: to prevent security threats from compromising your privacy. Don’t ignore updates. Instead, set your computer to update security patches automatically.

Protect Your Data

Most people store treasure troves of personal, financial, and medical data on their computers. Install antivirus and malware prevention software on your device and back up your data to protect it from cyber theft.

Use Strong Passwords and Two-Factor Authentication

Weak passwords make you more vulnerable to 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 or websites where you access financial, medical or other sensitive information. Consider using a password management application, which generates a unique, encrypted password for each website you log into, stores them in an encrypted “vault,” and automatically completes your login information for you.

Destroy Unwanted Computer Media

Thieves can recover sensitive data from old computer disks and hard drives, even after you delete the files. Invest in a hard drive shredding service to destroy unwanted computer media. Your shredding provider uses a specialized shredder that grinds tapes and hard drives into small particles, rendering your data irrecoverable.

Store Your Laptop Out of Sight

Never leave your laptop unattended in your car or in public, even for a few minutes. Encrypt your hard drive so if a thief steals your laptop, they can’t access your personal files. If you have the option to locate the device remotely in case of theft, activate that feature before something happens.

Use Social Media Wisely

Cybercriminals scour Facebook, Instagram, and other social media networks looking for personal information. Never post your birth date, address, phone number, or other personal data on social media websites. Set your accounts to so only friends and family can see your social media feeds.

Don’t Offer Personal Info over the Phone-+

Telephone fraud is on the rise. Be wary if you receive a phone call from the IRS, a bank, or a telemarketer asking for your personal information. If a legitimate institution needs to contact you, they will send you a letter via snail mail.

Richards & Richards offers document shredding and media destruction services throughout Nashville. For more information about our shredding services, please call us at 615-242-9600 or complete the form on this page.

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