Today, it’s almost impossible not to rely on the internet for many daily tasks. Every year, more and more uses for the internet seem to appear. While using the internet provides so many benefits, it is more important than ever to remember the importance of protecting your digital identity.
When putting your information and name out there, it’s essential to be aware of some safety precautions to avoid rampant digital fraud such as identity theft. Here are seven simple ways you can protect your digital identity.
1. Create Strong Passwords
You may have heard this before, but it’s important to remember to put it in place. Using the same password for multiple accounts puts you at risk for many problems because it makes it so easy for malicious internet users to hack your accounts. It’s essential to diversify your passwords, steering clear of using personal information such as your name or birthdate. Many password manager applications, such as Lastpass, are available to help protect your passwords and help you remember them. Using unique passwords and changing them helps limit your chances of being hacked.
2. Use Smart Business Practices
Protecting your business’ digital identity is equally as important as protecting your personal digital identity. Every business can adopt a Know Your Customer approach, which helps verify the identity of customers and assess their risk for fraudulent activity. Using this approach is beneficial as you do a “deep-dive” into the financial activity of your customers, helping protect your digital identity while keeping customers safe as they browse your site and make financial transactions on it.
Want to learn more about how to enhance cyber security for your business? Check out these four ways to improve your business practices for enhanced privacy.
3. Be Smart on Social Media
While it is unnecessary to avoid using social media platforms completely, users should take extra caution when putting personal information on the web. Many users today “overshare” on social media, as they become overly comfortable and confident that their friends on social media can be trusted. However, you never know who can view and access the personal information you share on social media.
For these reasons, you should avoid putting your full birth date or personal identification numbers on social media. Also, it is important to be mindful of the third-party apps you let access your social media logins.
4. Protect Your Social Security Number
If hackers get their hands on your social security number, your identity can be hacked in a hot second. This risk is why you must take all measures possible to keep your social security number private. You should also stay mindful of who you share it with. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recommends people keep their social security cards in a safe, secure place. This can be at home in a drawer or locked up in a deposit box, etc.
5. Continually Update Your Devices
Though it may be annoying, keeping your electronic devices updated is a crucial step to take to protect your digital identity. Too often, users put off updates because they don’t want to be bothered. As soon as you get an alert that a new update is available, do it! These software updates are designed to address potential flaws or security breaches. To help you remember to stay on top of your device updates, set your device on automatic updates.
6. Consider Security Software
Many platforms and programs help users enhance security and protect their identities. These platforms, such as Norton, work by preventing dangerous digital attacks. These programs can be used on personal computers, phones, tablets, and just about every other device with internet connectivity. Investing in security software can help you feel confident about your digital identity and prevent devastating hacks — an investment that is well worth it!
7. Backup Your Info on an External Hard Drive
Backing up important information and saved documents on an external hard drive is a key protective measure. This step will help you recover documents if your computer is hacked, lost, or stolen.
For an even higher level of security, store your hard drive in a safe box that requires a code entry. Or, you can keep it in a fireproof box at the bank.
Protecting Your Digital Identity
Using these seven tips to help protect your digital identity is a great start. Ask anyone that has even been a victim of a cybercrime, and you’ll hear about how frustrating it can be — as well as how they wished they’d been very vigilant beforehand. While these are just a few of the many measures you can take for safe internet use, they’re a great start to help prevent your digital identity from being stolen.
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