Because you tend to live out a good portion of your life on the World Wide Web, it’s easy to forget that having a life online also means that countless numbers of people have access to your personal information at any given time.
Whether you’re writing a blog post or posting an update on Facebook, it’s easy to overlook breaches to your electronic privacy. Others Eyes are able to access your personal data in various ways, it’s critical that you constantly work to keep your personal information private.
The term “personal information” can take on any number of meanings. Many individuals would state that personal data is your name, address and Social Security number, but that definition barely scratches the surface. When using the Web, personal information can be defined as your status updates on Facebook, what you post in your tweets and even the photos you share on Flickr.
It’s vital that you practice privacy control for many reasons concerning the following:
- Prevent identity theft.
Identity theft is currently the number-one rated cybercrime, and as the Web grows, so will the number of individuals whose identities are stolen online. Identity theft occurs when someone gains access to your personal information and pretends to be you online. Individuals who have accessed your personal data can retrieve your login information for various websites or commit cybercrimes such as fraud, all while posing as you. Identity theft is the type of crime that can have long-lasting repercussions for both your electronic privacy and your online reputation.
- Protect your banking information.
Many people feel completely safe when banking online, but protecting your banking information has never been more important. Cybercriminals can take your banking information and make unauthorized withdrawals and transfers. Although banking websites are encrypted, you should still practice privacy protection by changing your passwords frequently and by never logging in unless you’re on your protected network at home.
- Avoid posting vacation details.
You may not be the only one excited that you’re posting a status update about your upcoming trip. Unless your Facebook status updates are completely protected, you may literally be leaving your front door open to break-ins and home robberies. Never share your vacation plans on social networking websites.
- Protect your employment record.
Status updates aren’t just for talking to your friends and followers; they can also give a future employer a quick gauge as to what type of employee you might be like. Sharing personal information such as your likes and dislikes about politics, religion or your current job can shut the door on future job opportunities. Be aware of what you’re posting on Facebook and Twitter, and ensure a spotless record before you get the job.
- Manage your business online reputation.
If you run a business online, you know that practicing business reputation management is something you must do on a daily basis. Failure to protect your company’s electronic privacy can destroy your online reputation. Criminals can take your business information and create false email accounts and fake employee names and even hack into your corporate computer system. Protect your company’s digital privacy by running your intranet on a secure server.
- Secure your credit card information.
Credit card scams are on the rise. Although improvements to SSL technology have allowed you to feel more secure using your cards online, it’s still a good idea to safeguard your credit card number and security PIN. In addition, you can protect yourself by asking the credit card company to add extra security questions to your account and alerts to your credit bureaus.
- Gain admission to the school of your choice.
In much the same way that your social network status updates and tweets can prevent you from gaining a new job, they can also damage any chances you or your loved ones have of gaining admission to college. Recruiters and admissions clerks search for applicants online, often judging them solely on their Facebook profile. Check out this article about how Facebook has become the judge and jury of your online reputation. Keep your personal information private.
- Protect your insurance.
Having proper home insurance is often a necessity for obtaining a mortgage. Like home insurance, life insurance gives you peace of mind that your family will be protected. If you post personal information on the World Wide Web about risky behaviors involving you or your home, you could be denied your insurance plan. Always protect your privacy by avoiding status updates detailing behaviors that your insurance company might deem perilous.
- Defend yourself in legal proceedings.
Being involved in a lawsuit is stressful, but if you’re leaking personal data on the Web you could damage your ability to win your case. Never share any type of legal information or post specific details about any type of legal dealings. You may be underestimating those who search for you online.
- Guard your medical information.
Posting your personal information on the Web can prevent you from receiving adequate medical care. Criminals troll websites specifically looking for detailed medical information. When they have obtained your personal data, they will use it to gain personal medical attention for themselves or to sell to others. You could possibly be denied medical attention due to unpaid debt. Always protect your electronic privacy by not posting any medical-related data, including information about specific medical conditions.
When you’re sitting in front of your computer at home, it’s easy to feel safe while surfing the Internet. Focusing on privacy protection is vital in protecting your personal data both online and off. So, keep your personal information private.