The Three Things You Should Never do Online
With so much information being added online, we’ve all said or written too much on occasion. Before the public was aware that sites like Facebook were selling their data and analyzing every post and comment, people felt free to say whatever they wanted on social media. Now people realize that they are being scrutinized, hopefully, they are aware that everything they add to social media pages are stored and evaluated, and later sold. If you work for a company that doesn’t appreciate strong political opinions or certain behaviors, then you should be aware of that before you post or comment. Even if it’s your own personal page, some companies and customers will give you problems if you offend them or post offensive material. If you are using your own name, and you have anything online that could be a problem, make sure to add “opinions expressed here are my own and are not a reflection of anyone I’m associated with or work for” or something of this nature. It clearly lets readers know you are not speaking for your company or customers. Those things aside there are three things you should never do online:
- Never post your phone number on a public media space – it may seem like a good idea if you’re selling something or having a party or have some reason to contact specific individuals, but a better idea is to direct message them. Putting your phone number on social media is the same as posting it online. If you don’t want anyone with an internet connection having your phone number, then don’t do it. If you have a separate number just for business or work and want to post them, then do so, but keep your personal number offline.
- Never give out your social security number online or post it online for any reason. This will surely lead to identity theft and a lot of other issues. No company, bank, credit card or other institution will ask you for your social security number online anymore. Some banks will request the last four digits of your social to verify your identity when changing your password, but they will not ask for your full social, and if they do online or over the phone, you should decline to provide it and instead go to a branch. Needless to say, don’t ever put your social into a comment, direct message or on any social media site.
- Never share your passwords. If you have passwords for specific apps like banking or others, don’t give out these passwords online. Passwords are used for a reason, and social engineering is still one of the most used methods of obtaining a password. Don’t post them online, don’t share them online and don’t use the same password for all your accounts, especially money accounts.
You can do these things right now to keep your personal information offline. These three are the most important, but you should always be careful about sharing private data online with strangers. Even if your family and friends are online, you might want to use text, a phone call or in-person talk to share some information. If you use email that’s not encrypted, anything you send can be intercepted and read. So if you send a picture of your driver’s license or a copy of your social security card to a bank or investment company, if that data isn’t encrypted on both ends, it can be stolen. Make sure whoever you share information with via email is just as careful on their end with your information as you should be on your end. If they leave your info out on their desk, that can easily be copied by another employee.
With all the info posted about us online, sometimes it’s too late and various data miners and data harvesters have already gotten some of your personal information such as your address, phone number or other info. As a result of all this data gathering, you may do a search and find out that your personal information has already ended up online. If you find your name and address are online, contact an internet removal service who can show you how to remove your information from the internet. They can also delete information and remove your address from the internet.