02 Mar Online Privacy: What information are you sharing?
Every day, you give away personal information about yourself, sometimes without even realizing it. You do this when you bookmark a page on the Internet, add an item to an ecommerce “wish list,” or complete an “All About Me” quiz on a social network. Your online activity is recorded; and the information, comments and photos you post are permanent – and public. Your posts might be shared by a friend or sold to a business. Think about it: “What does your online activity reveal about you?”
Although you can’t control how the information you provide online is used by others, you CAN control your online behavior, and in that way, protect your online privacy.
- Read the privacy policies posted on websites and mobile apps before using their website, purchasing their product, or downloading their mobile app.
- Update the privacy and security settings on your social networking sites to control who sees your posts and adjust them to your personal comfort level. Don’t rely on the default settings. Know that identity thieves, scam artists, debt collectors, stalkers, employers, and corporations use social networks to gather information about you.
- Don’t post anything online that you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of a newspaper.
- Never give out your full name, address, birth date, or any other personally identifiable information that could be used to impersonate you or gain access to your accounts.
- Make sure that your password is long, complex and combines letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t reuse passwords on multiple accounts. Instead, choose unique passwords for each account, especially your online banking accounts.
- Log out of websites and browsers when you’re finished using them. Never leave your online accounts open.
- Be wary of sites that offer some sort of reward or prize in exchange for your contact information. And use a separate email address for your online activity – one that you can easily dispose of.
- Before making a purchase from an online retailer, ensure that they are to be trusted and that the transaction is secure and encrypted.
- Keep your devices updated. Periodically review and delete apps and games you no longer use that have access to your accounts and devices.
- Know what action to take if you suspect unusual activity or a breach.
Knowing how to navigate the Internet safely is essential to maintaining your privacy online. Remember that YOU decide what information about yourself to reveal, when, why, and to whom.
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