- Think more
Whether online or in person, you are always asked to disclose personal information. Don’t blindly supply them. Ask yourself why this information is needed, who will use it, and how. Remember that the Internet never forgets! When data has been published, it is tough to remove. You should always consider the impact that your comments or images may have on your own or others ‘ reputation.
- Ask a lot of questions
- Express yourself
If you have concerns about how an organization handles your personal information, you should let them know. Most organizations are sensitive to the privacy concerns of their clients. In many cases, the organization will be able to respond quickly and effectively to your interests in this regard if you communicate them directly to the organization. An organization is more likely to improve its overall policy or practice when people express their views.
Consider registering on the National Do Not Call list to avoid telemarketing calls. Check the “”No thank you”” box on the forms that ask you to provide personal information or make a brief comment indicating that you refuse to be contacted. You can also have your name removed from many mailing lists by subscribing to the US Marketing Association’s mail drop Service.
- Protect your Social Security Number
Your Social Security number (SSN) gives you access to your personal information and puts you at risk of fraud and identity theft. That’s why it’s essential to keep it confidential to protect your privacy. Your SSN is a sensitive number that should be collected and used only for income tax reporting purposes. Avoid sharing it with private sector organizations or individuals, such as your landlord. Just because someone asks you for your SSN doesn’t mean you have to give it to them.
- Protect your smart gadgets
Take steps to protect your personal information online. Make sure your computer, smartphone, and other mobile devices are password protected. Only download files from reliable sources. Install anti-virus, anti-spam, and firewall software using the latest version and keep them up to date. Consider encryption of sensitive data. Disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functions if you don’t use them. Data is vulnerable when you travel in a public place with an open public network. Do not leave your mobile devices unattended.
- Passwords need your protection
You can help prevent identity theft by choosing passwords challenging to guess. Create passwords at least eight characters long using letters, numbers, and symbols. Choose a different password for each web site, account or device. If you need to write down your passwords to remember them, keep your list in a secret, secure and locked place.
- Familiarize yourself with the privacy settings
It is often possible to change the privacy settings of mobile devices, browsers, websites, apps and other Web-enabled products, such as game consoles and cameras. For some devices, the user can control everything, such as geolocation or screen locking. In browsers, it can often handle elements like cookies and pop-up windows. With applications and websites, such as social networking sites, the user can usually determine what personal information others may see about him or her. Never rely on the default settings. Review and adjust your privacy settings regularly, as they may change without notice or at short notice.
- Delete information with caution
Before you sell, recycle or dispose of a device that you no longer use, make sure you properly delete the data stored on it. When you do business with a particular company, find out how long they keep personal information and how they dispose of it. If in doubt, ask questions.
- Know your lawful rights
Learn about the basics of the federal privacy legislation in the US, how your personal information is handled by the federal government and the obligations of businesses concerning your personal information. Find out how to share your privacy concerns with an organization that handles your data. Remember that you have the right to access your personal information and request corrections.