How to Protect Your Personal Information Online

Author: Nichlaus O.

September 30, 2021

Data breaches make the news headlines quite regularly, indicating that hackers have outsmarted cybersecurity experts in some ways. It also demonstrates that companies need to boost their information security efforts periodically.

A data breach occurs when hackers gain access to company servers and download files of their choice. If a breached company has any data on you, then your data falls in the hands of hackers. Your login information is especially useful for gaining entry to your online account in banks, digital crypto wallets, email services as well as for obtaining medical information and browsing & download history.

Though you cannot avoid sharing certain information with internet companies, it is possible to take precautions in protecting your personal information online. Here are some smart tips for you:

Stop Oversharing on Social Media

One common way scammers and hackers manage to get your personal data so easily, is that they can find it for free on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. You have put it there yourself!

Only yield as little information as is necessary for your survival on social media. Your date of birth, home street address, cell phone/home phone numbers, your bank of choice, ought not to be publicly displayed for the world to see online. Unless it is absolutely necessary, there is no reason to be sharing this information with a company or to publish it publicly. 

Don’t be an agent in the loss of your personal data online!

Have Good Password Management

Create and use strong passwords that combine capital letters, small letters, numbers, and symbols. Do not use easily guessable things for passwords like your date of birth or favorite food or your hometown. The best passwords are random letters, numbers, and symbols.

You could use a good password manager to create unique logins and save them all in one place.

Do an Annual Check-Up

A yearly audit of important personal information that you use online can be the proactive move that reinforces your security. You could check if your email has been part of an online data breach using these sites:  

Also, this would be a good time to delete your accounts from sites you no longer use and unsubscribe from services you don’t need. As long as your personal information is online somewhere, there remains a measure of risk.

Never Share Your Passport, National ID, or Social Security Numbers

Some service providers demand that you fill in your social security number for them to allow your subscription. Yet this is not mandatory by law in most countries. They do this to align all the information due to you by searching databases for your number to have a picture of your history as a client.

Only give your identifying numbers to trustworthy companies and services that are a must-have for you. If some service demands your vital personal information, it may be time to consider afresh if you can’t do without it.

Here are more details you must never share online.

Create Several Dedicated Email Accounts

A big security tip is to separate your email accounts attached to banks and payment modes from everything else. This is the email to secure highly. Keep it to yourself and don’t use it for ordinary online subscriptions. If this is hacked, you could lose money from your account in a flash!

Have an email for free subscriptions, surveys, and social media. These do not need to have your real name and biodata.

Set Up Multi-Factor Authentication Where Possible

Where you can, set up the 2-step verification (aka 2-factor authentication or 2FA) system to add an extra layer of protection to your online account. With 2FA enabled, you will get a notification on your phone or alternate email whenever there is a new login to your account.

In case of an unauthorized login, you can act fast by immediately changing your password to prevent further intrusion.

Install Reliable Internet Security Software on Your Devices

Install and use updated antivirus with internet security on your most used devices.  This will detect phishing sites and malicious links and prevent them from accessing your data while you browse online.

Always keep your web shield updated and running for protection from new/evolving threats to your personal information.  

Beware of Online Scams

Knowledge is power. Educate yourself about the trends regarding how common internet scams are presented and pulled off. This way, you can detect suspicious activity that could compromise your personal information.

ScamAdviser has a huge content archive on scams and how to avoid them. Do have a look!

Report a Scam!

Have you fallen for a hoax, bought a fake product? Report the site and warn others!

Help & Info

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