We live in a very digital world. Every single one of us has used the internet at LEAST once – if not dozens and dozens of times. It’s nearly impossible to do anything without having a computer or smart phone anymore. There are people who make a living by sitting behind a computer screen (waves hand frantically – that’s me!). While that is SO incredibly amazing, it also means there are new ways to steal information. Long gone are the days of “dumpster diving” (or going through your trash to find personally identifying information on papers you had thrown out like bills and other documents). Now, we all have hoards of personal information floating out in cyber space and it’s time to make sure that we have a lock down on that info so that our personal business stays that way. Read on for 5 digital safety tips to keep you secure in cyber space!
Social media is a big one – we all have at the very least a Facebook account, right? And probably a twitter…an Instagram…a Snapchat…and those are just the popular ones. There are a few ways to make sure that you are staying as safe as possible while you navigate the world of digital media. First off, how much information are you sharing when you post a photo? More than you think.
I bet you’ve posted pictures of you and your friends and tagged the location before, right? I know I have. I bet you’ve also posted pictures of your pets – and their names. Do you Snapchat or Instastory your daily activities? These are things that help people get to know your life personally – from your day-to-day routine, the places you frequent and sensitive information like pet names / children’s names (which are often used as passwords). Figure out what you are comfortable sharing with the public and then take measures to keep yourself safe.
SOCIAL MEDIA SAFETY TIP: Save your picture + location tags for later. I make a habit of not posting my actual location until I’ve been gone for at least an hour. I love tagging the places I visit, but I won’t post the pictures until later to make sure that if someone is watching what I do, they aren’t getting accurate information until it’s too late. Watch Allstate’s social sharing video to learn about more ways to keep yourself safe on social media.
A big part of what makes online marketing so effective are the analytics every website is tracking. They know what device you used to view the website, where you are located, how long you were on the page, your purchase history, the address it’s being sent to, what social media channels you use, etc. It’s crazy how you can be browsing through Amazon…and then later see an ad for the item you “saved for later” pop up in your Facebook feed. That’s totally on purpose.
Do you know about location services? That’s when apps chill in the background, tracking your location. While that can make eating, shopping and google-mapping SO MUCH easier in life, what purpose do those other apps have for knowing where you are all that time, right? Be proactive and make sure you have your location services turned OFF for apps that you aren’t using regularly.
Additionally – watch out for apps that broadcast your location to your public friends list – like snapchat. Snapchat automatically turns on their “see my location” setting in the app, and that means that anyone on your friends list can see exactly where you are all the time, right down the exact street you’re on. #creepy. Head over to the “settings” section of Snapchat and turn on “ghost mode” so that it stops tracking where you’re at and you can live your life off the grid (at least partially).
Phishing isn’t just for southern boys in the summertime: you could be a victim of phishing any time. So…what exactly IS phishing?
Phishers try to obtain financial or confidential info from people like you, by sending an email or message that looks as if it’s from a legitimate company such as your bank. Hidden in those emails are links to fake websites that collect any personal data you enter.
YUCK. No thank you. A good rule of thumb: if it LOOKS sketchy – it probably is. It’s always better to call your bank/insurance/hospital or whatever the case may be first before entering any sensitive information. They will be able to tell you whether or not it is a legitimate scam or if they really do need that info from you.
Honestly, is there anything better the 21st century has brought us than being able to deposit checks on our phones? Nope. There’s not. The fact that I haven’t actually stepped foot in a bank in … years .. is amazing. It’s easy, convenient and for the most part, super safe. Banks are smart when creating their user-friendly apps, and they have many security measures in place to make sure you are as protected as possible. HOWEVER: there are some extra measures you can take to make sure this convenience doesn’t hurt you or your bank account.
A few precautions to take are: setting up 2-factor authentication, only downloading apps from reputable apps stores, ALWAYS logging out of your mobile banking apps, and never using public Wi-Fi to send or receive money.
PIN THIS FOR LATER:
Thank goodness for the hundreds of different resources available out there to give us the best ways to protect our information from nefarious people, amiright? Journey through the hidden world of digital data HERE to get more in depth information on what I talked about here, and view all of the amazing information Allstate has to offer on this topic HERE.
If you want to make sure that you are up to snuff on all your digital safety (and you really should be) – take this quiz to see how well you are ACTUALLY doing.
Has your identity ever been compromised before? What happened and how did you fix it? Let me know in the comments below! With a few precautions, we can all be surfing the internet safely together.
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