Being online nowadays can be such a good thing but too much of a good thing can be bad. It can be scary how easy it is to access personal information on the Internet. Things like addresses and phone numbers can be found by hackers so easy if we aren’t careful with what we put online.

These 7 tips will help you protect your information online:

Avoid Oversharing
Sharing a lot of information online can be dangerous. Your Timeline on Facebook may even be like your online scrapbook for the whole world to see, including stalkers. You just “checked-in” at the popular gym downtown and now all of your friends know where you are and what you are doing.

Delete Spam Emails
Who likes spam emails, raise your hand?! Okay, no one. All they do is take up space in your inbox/junk folder that you clear out maybe once a year. Not only do they just take up space, they can be extremely dangerous. If you receive a spam email, do not open or click on the link that they give you. Some of those emails are able to access all of your contacts’ information, plus yours.

Security Software
I don’t care who you are or what computer you own, it’s possible for ALL computers to get viruses. Just because you own a Mac does not exclude you from that group of users. I’d rather be safe than sorry when it comes to the information on my computer being hacked. Most of us have a lot of valuable information on our computers like usernames and passwords. Security software is one way that you can protect you and your computer from hackers and viruses.

Delete Cookies Often
Who would have thought that getting rid of cookies would be a good thing? Ever! Cookies used on the web are small text files that websites put on your computer to store information about you and your preferences. You’re basically being stalked… Ever wonder how those Facebook ads know exactly what you like?

delete cookies

Having cookies saved can be useful like when you don’t want to sign in to Facebook every time. They can actually enhance your experience on a website as well because it tracks your preferences.

Deleting them often improves your privacy and protection so that websites don’t have that information forever.

Use Different Passwords
This is a point that I have a difficult time with. That’s probably not something I want to admit, but I will change! No one likes remembering which password goes to which account, but it can be a good thing to do. In fact, this is something you should do.

Is your pin the same number as the passcode to unlock your phone?

What about the password for your internet? Is it your phone number?

Does your Twitter, bank login and Nordstrom have the same password?

Chances are you use one password for a lot of things for convenience. It’s definitely convenient for that hacker too.

Secure Social Media Information
You can make most of your information on your social media profiles private so that others aren’t able to see them. Go to the settings of your social media sites and make sure there’s not information on there that could be valuable to a hacker like the year of your birthday or address. There are a lot of things you should avoid putting on the Internet.

Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
This means you use two different ways to verify your account login. Using a username and password is only considered a single-factor verification. While using 2FA you have three options to choose from for your second authentication:

  • Something you know: PIN number, password or a pattern
  • Something you have: ATM card, phone or fob
  • Something you are: fingerprint or voice print

Most social media sites like Facebook are using this tactic. Facebook will send a code to your phone via text message and you have to verify the security code online.

It’s important to keep your information secure. When you hear the term ‘personal information’ you may only think of things like your name, phone number, address or even social security number. All of those things are personal information, but there are so many more things that can happen if your personal information is obtained:

  • Identity theft
  • Financial theft
  • Burglaries (example: posting that you are going out of town)
  • Credit card scams
  • Medical benefit fraud

It’s easy to feel safe behind a computer. Don’t let the vulnerable side of you take over because there are people out there that want your information whether you know it or not. How do you keep your personal information safe?