Five Tips To Help Secure Your Private Information
Our private information is private for a reason, and that’s most often because it’s sensitive and personal. From your personal details to your financial information, we might need to provide this once in a while to use a service or to verify our identities, but we should always be careful with how we provide it, and who we provide it to.
After all, there are many untoward scammers and thieves out there just looking to find a way to commit fraud, and so it’s our task to make that as difficult as possible for them. Thankfully, you don’t have to be on-guard in a fighting position the entire time, you can live your life with a few careful and common principles to help you move forward.
However, while keeping our private information is a good idea, our practices must also be sustainable. Dedicating hours each day to keeping your data safeguarded is a little much, after all. In this post, we hope to simplify that effort for you:
Stop Spam Emails
A spam email can not only be potentially dangerous if you follow the links within it, but they’re also quite annoying. The same can be said for spam texts, and these are more common. You can view good methods of stopping them through this article - https://setapp.com/how-to/stop-spam-emails .
Some carriers or email providers will detect spam and try to block it or place it in a ‘spam’ folder to begin with. Some won’t. This is especially true if you use email hosting for your own personal domain name, as you might not have gone into the back-end settings that helps you determine what you consider to be a spam email.
To begin with, blocking and reporting t hese emails is essential. Using a modern browser that can detect spoof websites is key, as is never clicking links sent to you in emails or texts unless it’s from a trusted source you recognise. Stopping those spam emails will have a big impact on how safe you stay online, often protecting you more than you might have realized.
Use Virtual Credit Cards
A good way to protect your real financial information is to never give it in the first place. An increasing number of banks, especially challenger banks running through apps, can offer you a one-use virtual credit card number.
This is authentic and ties to your bank, transmitting funds as you want it to. The only difference is that thanks to this effort, you can immediately disable that virtual card and never use it again, meaning no one can use those details if they have been claimed, or if the website you were using is either suspicious or might have been compromised.
This lessens the chance of bank fraud exponentially, which is always a worthwhile approach. You don’t have to apply this to every purchase of course, keeping your main credit card information saved in the digital wallet of services like Amazon can be a big help, especially if you can lock that account using protections we’ll speak of later.
Consider An Alt Email Address/Number For Untrusted Websites
This is the same principle as the prior approach, but in this way, you can offer a secondary, little-used mobile phone SIM card and email address. Email addresses are free and can use a random handle that doesn’t correspond to you. Pay-as-you-go or contractless monthly SIM cards can be dirt cheap and will register you a number you can use immediately. If you just use it to receive texts, then this can be helpful.
But why might you use such tools? Well, it might just be that you prefer to keep your personal details, and the details you use to sign up to services online with, private. Perhaps you’re purchasing from a startup online auction and you wish to protect your information. Consider in advance if the service might need your official documentation to aid you - for instance this is hardly the right approach to take if you’re booking a hotel or flights, as it may look suspicious.
But you can use it for purchases from startup fashion stores, for instance, or to buy tech products from second-hand services. Maybe you just want to read posts in the local neighbourhood Facebook group without actually being a ‘present member’ who is recognized. It just helps you protect your privacy a little more, which you’re entitled to.
Consider Your Password Safety
Some services, like Firefox’s privacy protection suite you can use for free, will help you understand if any of your account passwords have been compromised in leaks. This will encourage you to change them.
Of course, it’s also important to get into this habit so your account are less accessible. Every three to six months is usually a good timeframe - and the latter is more realistic for many people. You can set up reminders in your phone’s calendar to make sure you keep on top of that.
Your password should be a string of characters, numbers and special characters like punctuation. You should also use capital letters. Use passphrases you can remember. Moreover, don’t use the same password for every service. Change it up a little, perhaps by placing the initials of the service in the password too. This way, you can ensure if one account is compromised, you don’t have to worry about all of them.
Add Two-Factor Authentication To All Of Your Accounts
Two-factor authentication can also protect your accounts, where your private information is located. This will grant you a code you can have sent to your mobile number, email or authenticator app in order to add a second layer of protection outside of your password. As these are randomly generated, most people won’t be able to access your account without that info.
The authenticator app version is by far the most worthwhile and common - because it allows you to generate an offline code that no one could intercept even with the best tools. That will truly make a difference.
With this advice, we hope you can secure your private information in the best possible context.