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Clean Up Your Digital Act! - Online Privacy

In a world where people are increasingly living their lives online, privacy in the digital world is becoming one of the most important issues of modern life. Stories of identity theft, ruined careers, and fraud abound. How well protected are you against these very real threats?

identity theft

Personal information that you enter into an online form can be saved, sold, copied, hacked, and sent around the world. Make sure you're taking precautions to prevent your data from going astray. Important components to your identity are:

 

passport
  • Full Name
  • Birth Date
  • Social Security Number
  • Place of Birth
  • Phone/Address
  • Credit Card Information
 

Facebook

The information you post freely on Facebook is sometimes enough for identity thieves to use! Sophos, a security software company, has a great resource  detailing facebook logo Facebook settings that will minimize your risk of personal information harvesting. Take a few minutes to go through their suggestions - you won't regret it!

american civil liberties union You should also take this great Facebook Quiz prepared by the ACLU  - it shows you what information you are sharing with potentially malicious companies and individuals who create and post quizzes.

Tips on Protecting Your Information

Here are some more basic tips on protecting your personal information from lawyers.com:

  • Only give a credit card number when buying something and try to use a landline for purchases
  • Don't select the "remember my password" option when registering online
  • Change your passwords every 60 to 90 days and don't use personal information as your password, instead use a string of at least five letters, numbers and punctuation marks
  • Don't store your passwords near your computer or in your purse or wallet
  • Don't give more information than a site requires
  • Keep your anti-virus software up-to-date to reduce the risk of malicious code running on your PC
  • Don't go online unless you have a personal firewall enabled to add a layer of protection to your PC by stopping unknown connections to your PC
  • Don't reply directly to e-mail messages asking for personal information
  • Type web addresses directly into your web browser instead of clicking on e-mail links
  • Get anti-virus and anti-spam filtering software and keep it up to date by using its automatic update feature, if your service provider or employer doesn't provide it for you

More Identity Theft Resources

To avoid giving out your real email address, why not go disposable? Here are 8 Disposable Email Address Services.

7 online blunders - These common mistakes can ruin your computer or invite identity theft (from consumerreports.org)

Privacy Alliance's Rules and Tools for Protecting Personal Privacy Online (from privacyalliance.org)

iC3  is the FBI's citizen and small business complaint site. They post the latest scams as well as gather information about internet crime.

Is your online persona going to prevent you from landing that great job?

Are you letting it all hang out on or flickror myspace to the detriment of your future?

How safe is your credit card information?


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