A Clever Person Solves a Problem, A Wise Person Avoids It
This how to guide is split into two different categories: Online and Offline
Each of us is responsible for our own security and our own privacy. Do not have blind faith that someone, some company, or some website will do it for you. Let us begin!
Do not click on links found in emails that say they are from one of your financial institutions
- These are often fake links out to steal your login credentials or personal information
Your bank will call you regarding suspicious activity, not send you an email!
Use strong passwords for all of your online dealings
- My suggestion- minimum of 10 characters, upper and lower case, at least one number AND one special character.
You did not win an online lottery, so just delete that email!
Run antivirus/anti-spyware software on your computer
- Make sure you set it up to scan daily, and that it automatically downloads updates
- Don’t go with some cheap virus software that you saw online. Use a reputable company like McAfee, Symantec, Norton, etc. They cost more, but they have a great reputation for removing viruses and spyware.
- Do not post your personal details on your Facebook page
- Don’t put your phone number or address on your details page
- Do not trust the friend request coming from someone you think you know on Facebook
- Review their page, make sure that friend isn’t already a “friend” of yours under a new name, if you can’t really tell, create a group that cannot see any of your personal information and add them to that group until you can verify they are the real deal.
- Lock down your account so people who aren’t your friends cannot see anything more than your profile picture
- Beware of messages containing links from your “friends,” as they be to spam websites or virus download sites. Your friend’s accounts may have been broken into because they use weak passwords.
- If you must use the “check in” feature, be sure to limit who can see that information. Also note, your friends’ friends can see where they have checked in at, and who they are with. You never know who knows you aren’t home.
Put a password on your computers, mobile phones, and tablets/laptops
- Again, use strong passwords that follow the recommendations
Educate your children on the use of the internet
- If you have teens, monitor their Facebook account
- Teach them about privacy:
- Don’t talk about being gone on vacation until after they return
- Don’t put personal information on their profile
- Not to share their social security number, DOB, or even have their age or real name out there
Use cross cut shredders when disposing of credit card offers
Do not leave documents that have your address and name inside your car
Invest in a safe that can be mounted to the floor/wall and actually mount it to the floor/wall
Keep any form of financial documents inside your new safe, including:
- Tax Returns
- Returned Checks
- SSN Card
- County Tax records
Invest in an external hard drive to store important documents on:
- A large (Gigabyte) thumb drive can work well for this
Use a scanner to create electronic copies of your important documents, and store this information on your external hard drive or thumb drive, and after you are done storing them, put the drive in your safe.
If you have a lot of documents that you have to keep hard copies of (the actual paper copies), use a fireproof filing cabinet that has a cross bar locking feature on it.
If you are in a neighborhood that allows it, replace your mailbox with one that locks.
If you and your family are going to be away for awhile:
- Put a hold on your mail with the postal service
- Ask your neighbor to put your trash cans out for you
- Let your neighbor know that you are going to be out, and that nobody is to be inside your home
- Give them a couple of phone numbers to reach you
Remember, soggy trash bags are the best bags to put unwanted paper mail into
I hope you find this how to guide helpful. Some of these items may seem like common sense to you, but ask yourself: “Do I follow these steps?” I know I am guilty when it comes to not following all of these.
Today is the official wrap up to privacy week. I hope you have enjoyed reading my posts, and I hope you continue to come back, as tomorrow, I start the discussion on life safety. If you have any questions on any topic I have written about, or if you would like more information on a topic I haven’t written about yet, please contact me. You can send me a comment; or you can follow me on Twitter, @thesmrt.
Protect your information, protect yourself; Coffee is brewing people, it is time to wake up!!!
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