With a surge in cybercrimes and identity theft protecting personal information online and offline has never been more important. Every day the news is full of stories about how user’s personal information is being targeted by hackers, identity thieves or companies who just want to sell your information.
It’s time to stop procrastinating. Take steps now to start protecting your credit history, personal information or confidential files.
Checking your PC for personal information
There is a free tool Smart ID Scan which allows you to search your computer for files containing credit card, bank account, social security numbers and other personal data. All you need to do is enter the last few digits, not the entire number of a credit card or social security card. The scan will check all documents, including compressed files, to look for any matches.
Protecting information stored on your computer
Files stored on your computer containing personal information or other sensitive information should be encrypted. Encryption will prevent anybody who gains access to your computer from being able to read your files. There are privacy software programs you can use to encrypt files, one of these is Smart Privacy Protector which stores your files in a secure encrypted vault.
Files containing personal information you don’t need should be shredded. Shredding will make the files unrecoverable even by the most sophisticated data recovery programs. Smart Privacy Protector uses the same level of shredding used by government agencies to destroy classified information.
Check your Windows privacy settings
Windows 10 shares a lot of information about your computer usage with Microsoft. Review your Windows privacy settings and make any necessary changes. Smart PC is a PC cleaning and optimization tool which contains a list of Windows privacy settings and makes it easy for you to turn them on and off. Download Smart PC and take advantage of this free feature.
Tips for guarding your personal information online
Check the privacy settings on your browser, on Facebook or other sites are apps you commonly use. Today companies want to know as much about you as possible so they can sell you more products and services. You need to start proactively protecting your information.
Use a tracker blocker on your browser. There are several good free tracker blocker add-ons that you can install on your browser to block trackers embedded on websites. In your browser’s privacy settings you may even find a tracker blocking option.
Use an ad blocker on your browser. This type of add-on blocks ads from loading on the sites that you visit. A popular ad blocker is U-Block Original.
Regularly clean your browsing history. You can clear your history through the settings menu on your browser. Use a cleaning program like Smart PC to scan your PC for all traces of your online and off-line activates and delete them all on a regular base.
Avoid using Public Wi-Fi for shopping or logging in to important accounts
Be cautious when using unsecured Internet connections. It’s best to assume that any traffic you send or receive via a public wifi hotspot can be monitored by other parties. Only use secure password protected wifi networks when shopping or accessing your bank, credit card or other financial information.
Remember to log out of financial apps on your phone or computer when finished using them.
Use best practices for on-line passwords
Don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Regularly change your passwords. Use longer passwords which include numbers and special characters. Even though it might be tempting don’t allow browsers or websites to store your login information as they are not secure. The safest solution is to use a Password Manager.
Password Managers like Password Confidential store your passwords and credit cards in a securely encrypted account protected with a master password known only to you. Next time you visit a website the password manager will automatically log you in. If you are shopping the password manager can automatically fill in your credit card number.
You can create and store up to 20 passwords in a Password Confidential account for free. And finally, Password Confidential also includes a free password generator for creating stronger passwords.
Taking steps to protect personal information is important. Improve your security habits by following some of the simple tips outlined above.