As more of us stay home in a bid to flatten the curve, many people are living out their lives online. You’re probably already doing it by hosting work meetings on Zoom, binge-watching the latest Netflix doc, and ordering groceries from your phone.
Using these services is no doubt convenient, but they also carry an extra risk for your privacy. Some of these accounts rely on personal information that, given to the wrong people, can expose you to fraud and identity theft.
To make sure you only share your personal information with companies, services, and apps that care about your security, check out these tips below.
Almost any site, app, and digital service will ask for your information. It’s up to you to decide if they truly need it.
Be knowledgeable, especially when it comes to finances. Take the time to read free finance articles to find out how online installment loans and lines of credit work, so you can make an accurate judgement about their requests.
Only ever share your personal information with reputable companies and organizations that have a genuine need for this data. Check for their online security to make sure they have the appropriate firewalls, site certificates, and encryption.
Check Your Credit
It’s the perfect time to get intimate with your credit history. A quick check will show you where you stand right now, giving you an idea of your overall financial health. This starting point helps you monitor your finances in the future.
It also helps you protect your credit score by spotting any errors. Inaccuracies in an installment loan or line of credit may be simple human error, or they may be a sign of identity theft.
If you notice something’s amiss on your file, dispute this entry right away. Removing something takes time, but it is possible with proof.
Mix up Your Passwords
Want the perfect password that’s hard to guess? It must be something that’s a mixture of letters, numbers, and characters in no recognizable pattern.
But if you use this password for multiple accounts, you end up undermining all the hard work you put into creating an uncrackable password. It weakens it through overexposure.
If a data breach may expose your account information — and you use the same password for everything — the people behind the breach may have what it takes to unlock all your other accounts, whether that’s an online installment or your work email. So the next time you update your password, make it unique.
Don’t Get Hooked by Phishing Emails
While some criminals will steal your data through a brute force attack, most will try to scam you out of it. They’ll send you emails or text messages “phishing” for information. They’ll pretend to be a real financial institution or company, asking you to share your passwords, account numbers, or just straight-up cash.
Phishing scams are becoming more sophisticated every day, but you can avoid them by knowing the warning signs. Here are some tips to avoid falling hook, line, and sinker:
- Check the email address to ensure it’s a genuine business. Scammers usually have strange domain names.
- Look for spelling errors and poor grammar.
- Don’t reply to a sender asking you to share your account information over email.
Online Security Starts with You
By now, you’ve scrolled through enough privacy policies to know genuine online companies intend to protect you and your information. But the onus doesn’t stop there. To improve your online security, you’ll have to share your personal information wisely.