Almost everything you do on a daily basis — from swiping a debit card to simply using a smartphone — can cause your information to be exposed to criminals, making you vulnerable to all kinds of dangerous scams.
Read more: How to see everything Google knows about you
Increasing risk of identity theft, fraud
The digitally-connected world we live in today has made it easier than ever for crooks to not only find your information, but also convince you to hand it over to them — whether by pretending to be someone you trust or threatening you with some type of malicious activity.
With the rise of data breaches and the increasing number of new scams being carried out via text, email, phone calls, social media — you name it — it’s critical that you take steps to protect yourself, your money and your identity.
The dangers of sharing personal info on social media
So many Americans are sharing a shocking amount of personal data on social media without giving a second thought to how they might be inviting cyber criminals into their lives. Here’s what a Visa survey found:
- Almost half of respondents disclose their birthday on social media.
- 29% share their phone number.
- 20% list their home address.
- 14% list their mother’s maiden name.
- 7% post their Social Security number on social media!
If you’re doing any of these things, take the info down right now! Any single piece of this info could help a crook steal your identity and wreak financial havoc in your life.
In addition to the threat of hackers, removing certain information from social media and other sites is crucial if you don’t want potential employers or other people getting access to all the details of your personal life!
And of course social media isn’t the only threat — in some cases, your personal info is just one Google search away.
Take these steps to protect yourself online
Here are a few resources to help you protect yourself online:
- How to protect your money and identity when shopping online
- Tips to avoid text message and pop-up alert scams
- How liking a post or page on Facebook can get you scammed
- Top 10 scams coming after your money and how to avoid them
- Identity Theft Guide
How to reduce, or delete, your digital footprint
You may never be able to completely erase your digital footprint, since so much is already out there about pretty much everyone.
However, there are ways for you to reduce the amount of info out there about you, and in some cases, remove yourself from certain databases.
Check out this guide for ideas on ways to reduce — or in some cases delete — your digital footprint.