How to Best Keep Your Personal Information Private When Using Social Media

There are likely millions of people who practice safe, common sense, shrewd personal security: We never use “password” for our password, we only use secure websites for purchases, and we don’t click on strange links. Perhaps we even take advantage of data broker opt-outs and remove personal information from Google.

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Subsequently, we then log into our social media accounts and purposefully share information we’re incredibly careful about sharing in every other aspect of our lives. As rampant as identity theft, hacking, and online scamming has become, personal information security is more important than ever. And social media platforms are one of the richest sources of information for those hackers, thieves, and scammers. Thankfully, there are steps anyone can take to protect themselves and limit their information exposure.

Protect the Gates to Your Social Networks

A lot of this is ground that’s been covered fairly thoroughly before, but it bears repeating just to preclude complacency: Be careful with your passwords. Switch your passwords up every few months, don’t use personal information in them, but do include symbols, letters, numbers, and both lower and uppercase letters. Use varying passwords for different social media platforms, and always use passwords for your devices.

If someone was able to get access to your smartphone, would they also have access to your social media, email, or bank accounts? This speaks to why strong passwords—not “1234”—are essential for your devices. Additionally, be sure to delete any social media accounts you never use, and be very careful about accessing your social media or anything else with sensitive information on a free, unfamiliar, or possibly unsecure Wi-Fi connection. Hackers will often loiter around free Wi-Fi networks, particularly free popular ones at restaurants and coffee shops.

Remove Personal Information and Don’t Overshare

Removing social media network-adjacent information can be hugely helpful as well. Hackers use information gathered from several sources to steal an identity. Contracting with an organization that can demonstrate how to remove personal information from Google, or do it themselves, can prove crucial in securing your personal information. Refraining from oversharing on social media platforms is likewise a key piece of a security strategy. Rather than your exact address, just name the city. Consider if you really need to note your full birthday, including year, or if mentioning “late 20s” (or your appropriate age range) is sufficient. You should also avoid listing your phone number and should never share your social security number.

Additionally, reconsider the kinds of information that you give away in your social media posts. Information like your general schedule, class schedule, or mentioning your mother’s maiden name. Consider any password reminders you have set up and if the information you’re sharing online would answer those prompts.

And remember that this is the internet, which means removing information you share can be quite difficult, so it’s best to use precaution in the first place before anything gets spread far and wide. After all, teachers have been fired for posing with beer or wine in vacation pictures. So consider: Is a post something you’d want your boss to see? How about parents or coworkers? It’s not that you can’t share anything, but keep in mind that even if you delete something, it’s easy for people to take screenshots beforehand. Just consider posts carefully, in addition to your privacy settings.

Limit Friends, Limit Social Media Platforms, Limit Info

The point of social media platforms is connecting with and, yes, even making friends. However, the latter can be problematic. Think twice about adding anyone as a friend that you only know from the internet, particularly if you’ve only encountered them recently. And if you do add those you don’t know well, consider limiting their access to any of your personal information. In general, keep your privacy settings secure. Even on sites like LinkedIn, where including work and personal information is the point, only include your employment history and other pertinent info that’s truly useful for networking. There’s no reason to post anything that’s not strictly relevant to your career path. And again, if you’re not using a social media account you’ve set up, delete it, don’t let it just sit around for someone else to hack into. These steps will help keep your personal information private.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe is an industry leader in ensuring data privacy and online security. From their base in Boston, DeleteMe has built their reputation in part by leveraging the expertise of their team of specialists and have succeeded in providing over 10 million consumer opt-outs. Their team has decades of collective experience in identity theft, privacy, and consumer security. They can aid in removal from Whitepages, other data broker sites, and Google, as well as payment security and other means to protects your personal and financial security.

Ensure that your personal information remains yours alone, at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/arYXJ2

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How to Protect Yourself From Identity Theft

It’s undoubtedly no surprise to anyone reading this, but identity theft is still a huge problem. It victimizes millions of people a year and takes a good amount of time and money to clear up. Collectively, identity theft costs both consumers and businesses billions. That means it’s in everyone’s best interest to learn how to remove personal information from Google and do everything else in their power to mitigate the threat of identity theft by keeping their personal information safe.

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Shred Enthusiastically

One of the richest sources of information for identity thieves is personal mail. They will literally sort through trash to find bills, credit card applications, bank statements, and anything else with personal and financial information on it. Shred anything that has any of your useable personal information on it or that can be used to apply for a credit card, account, or to access or change banking information.

Erase as Much of Your Personal Information as Possible

Too few people are aware of the multi-billion-dollar data broker industry that specializes in storing and selling your personal information. Perhaps even fewer are aware that you can request that they delete your information. You can make those requests yourself, though there are dozens of data brokers, and many of them make the information removal requests as difficult as possible. Consider using a subscription service like DeleteMe to take your private details off data broker sites and to remove personal information from Google—and keep it removed year-round.

Check and Freeze Your Credit

Also not well-known is the option consumers have to contact the three big credit bureaus, Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union, and request that their credit records be “frozen.” Freezing your credit restricts all access to your credit records until you contact the credit bureaus again and unfreeze your information. Each of the bureaus offers an app that allows you to lock and unlock your credit records whenever you want. You’re also entitled to one free credit check a year from each of the bureaus. Take advantage of that by checking your credit once every four months or so to ensure everything is in good standing.

Passwords and SSN: Keep Them Secret and Safe

Messages about keeping your passwords and social security number (SSN) safe are pretty common. Unfortunately, that ubiquity can result in those warnings being lost in the static of safety warnings. That’s a bad thing, as there’s virtually no gate that opens more directly to your finances and your most private information than passwords and your SSN. On the off-chance you’re not familiar with this information, be sure to use different passwords for different applications. Use complex passwords that incorporate symbols, numbers, and a change of case. Don’t use permutations of personal information (family members’ names, birthdays, and so on) or overly simple passwords such as “1234” or “password.” Give your SSN out only when absolutely necessary, and double-check requests for it to be sure they’re legitimate.

Read Your Mail

Reading mail seems like advice that doesn’t need to be given, but a lot of scammers take advantage of many consumers’ failure to read their mail thoroughly enough. Often just the basics are sufficient: Keep an eye out for new bills coming and old ones no longer coming. Go over your current bills and statements, looking for charges you don’t recognize and withdrawals you didn’t make. Anything you don’t recognize, changes without explanation, or something that strikes you as odd is worth looking into further. It’s better to find out more about a charge or change and make sure you’re the one who made it than risk losing money by ignoring it.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe is an industry leader in ensuring data privacy and online security. From their base in Boston, DeleteMe has built their reputation in part by leveraging the expertise of their team of specialists and have succeeded in providing over 10 million consumer opt-outs. Their team has decades of collective experience in identity theft, privacy, and consumer security. They can aid in removal from Whitepages, other data broker sites, and Google, as well as payment security and other means to protects your personal and financial security.

Ensure that your personal information remains yours alone, at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/9WNbNP

How to Avoid Being Fooled by Phishing Scams

With great convenience, and virtually fathomless access to information, entertainment, and ecommerce, comes great risks. That’s the trade-off that all of us make when we use the internet. It’s a significantly greater risk when we use the internet for email and any kind of ecommerce. Doing so opens us up to attempted hacks, identity thieving scams, viruses, malware, spyware, scareware, pharming, and a variety of other criminal schemes.

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Among the most common and one of the most dangerous schemes is “phishing.” For the uninitiated, phishing is an email-based scam in which a cyber-criminal (or group of them) send emails purported to be legitimate, from legitimate businesses or friends, that actually contain malicious links or attachments. The point of phishing is to extract private, personal information, and eventually money, from the unsuspecting victim. If there’s anything encouraging about phishing, however, it’s that the people threatened by phishing scams have recourse and can also take steps to avoid being fooled by phishing scams.

Perhaps the most important rule of avoiding phishing scams is to not click on links you’re sent in an email. (And one of the most effective methods to prevent being reached by phishing emails is learning how to remove personal information from Google.) Unfortunately, even your bank, companies you work with, and friends and family can be suspect. After all, logos can be faked, and even if you keep your personal information private, the accounts of friends and family members can still be hacked.

But there are warning signs. If anything seems “off” or you encounter any of the following, proceed with caution:

● Logos that look “off”

● Misspellings and other inconsistencies

● URLs that don’t match the company’s name

● Unsecured URLs (“http” rather than “https” accompanied by the padlock icon)

● URLs with foreign domains

● URLs with chunks of gibberish early in the address

The best practice regarding any link you’re sent via email is to ignore the link or attachment and contact the actual company, or the person who supposedly sent you the message. Often, the earlier-mentioned “scareware” scamming will play a part in phishing. You’ll be told some feature of your computer, banking, or something else has been compromised and you need to click a link, open an attachment or provide additional information. In addition to never clicking a link or opening an attachment from an email you’re not quite sure about, you should also never fill out forms asking for personal information in an email; particularly if it’s asking for financial data. Any message saying that you’ve won a competition you didn’t enter or should log into a site you aren’t a member of should likewise be deleted.

Along with generally being wary, there are some steps you can take to remain safer and keep your personal information secure. Either learn how to do it yourself or contract with a company that can remove personal information from Google. When contracting with a company that can remove your information from Google and data broker sites, choose one that offers disposable email addresses. Having a disposable email address (or more than one) can be useful measure. You can use a disposable email address when you need to provide an email address but don’t want to share your personal one and open yourself up to mountains of spam messages. After all, the less spam you encounter, the better—and the less likely your personal email address will be targeted for a phishing scam.

About DeleteMe

With more than 10 million consumer opt-outs, DeleteMe is a leader in data privacy and security. Based in Boston, they have built that reputation by leveraging their team’s expertise regarding consumer protection, identity theft, and privacy. That expertise is represented by their effective, user-friendly suite of comprehensive privacy solutions. Whether you’re concerned about password protection and removal from Whitepages, or payment security and anything else that protects personal and financial security, DeleteMe is the online service you need to keep your personal information private year-round.

Guarantee that your information remains yours alone, at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/5sf1P4

Why You Should Care About Your Business’s Online Reputation and What You Can Do About It

While it’s a fantastic understatement to point out that the internet has changed the world of commerce, sometimes the differences between ecommerce and good old brick-and-mortar trade are overstated. For instance, the reputation of a business, online or on the street, is incredibly important in determining a company’s success or failure. The difference is, before the internet, the reputation of any business but one famous or infamous enough to be discussed in the local or national media was virtually 100% attributable to word of mouth.

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That’s not the case with the internet. It’s an understandable dynamic and perhaps a fair trade-off: a merchant, from the comfort of their living room, now has access to literally hundreds of millions of customers all over the planet. For better or worse, however, those hundreds of millions of customers have access to that merchant—and that merchant’s online reputation. As hard as it can be to remove personal information from Google, including information influencing businesses and potential customers, reputation management online is entirely possible. And incredibly important.

Why Online Reputation Management Is Important

The online reputation of a business isn’t just an abstract consideration. Online reputation management is extremely important for a number of reasons, and having a negative online reputation can be costly in more ways than one.

It Can Sway Customers

Negative comments about your products, services, customer service, or an overall negative review can cost you customers. Many people read reviews before purchasing products or booking services. Make sure your online reputation encourages potential customers to follow through on their actions.

It Can Scare Away Potential Employees

If the internet has nothing good to say about your business, products, or services, it doesn’t bode well for prospective employees researching your company before applying. Just like you’re looking at their social media activity and searching for them in Google, they’re doing the same for you and your business. Make sure accurate information is being shared about your organization online and that your online presence excites, rather than scares away potential hires.

It Can Impact Business Relationships

Just as consumers might not want to support a company they’ve read nothing but bad things about; the same goes for potential business relationships. Make sure your organization’s strong mission and well-reviewed services or products are what those you’d like to work with see.

How to Improve Your Online Reputation

So it’s clear that online reputation matters. And unfortunately, even the most honest, reliable, trustworthy, and generally well-regarded company can suffer from attacks on their reputations. Misconstrued and quote-mined misquoting, vengeful competitors or even ex-employees posting dishonest libel, as well as photos of employees or management acting inappropriately can besmirch an otherwise spotless reputation. So it’s something anyone who does business, no matter how ethically and morally, online (or hopes to attract decent employees, clients, etc. online; so all companies, pretty much) should be concerned with.

Offer a Thoughtful Response

Cleaning up an online reputation doesn’t have any quick fixes. It requires scanning social media, review aggregators like Yelp, search engines, and more for negative comments and dealing with them. If they are opinions and the site allows for a response, it helps to respond with an explanation, apology, offer for help or a refund, or whatever else might be appropriate to remedy the situation.

Work to Remove Lies and Libel

If it’s something that’s actually a lie, particularly a malicious one, contact the site directly to have it removed. That often requires quite a bit of endurance. If it’s actually libel (someone lying about fraud, accusing employees or management of criminality, etc.), consider employing legal help to have it removed. It can also be valuable to engage a company that specializes in the removal of personal information online and helps with reputation management.

Keep Employee Information Private

Things seemingly out of your control can also garner a poor online reputation, be it an account hack sending spam emails, or the identity theft of an employee. But by contracting with a company that specializes in keeping employee information private, businesses large and small can help keep personal information safe and learn how to remove personal information from Google if need-be. Be sure to contract with a company that specializes in online privacy protection and will customize plans so you get what your business needs. Prevention should always be a part of your online reputation management strategy.

About DeleteMe

With more than 10 million consumer opt-outs, DeleteMe is a leader in data privacy and security. Based in Boston, they have built that reputation by leveraging their team’s expertise regarding consumer protection, identity theft, and privacy. That expertise is represented by their effective, user-friendly suite of comprehensive privacy solutions. Whether you’re concerned about password protection and removal from Whitepages, or payment security and anything else that protects personal and financial security, DeleteMe is the online service you need to keep your personal information private year-round.

Guarantee that your information remains yours alone, at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/uS79vE

Online Privacy Concerns You Might Not Have Considered

The issue of internet privacy and security is increasingly shifting from a fingers-crossed “it won’t happen to me” dynamic to one in which virtually everyone has either had their identity stolen, their information exposed in a massive hack, or knows someone who has. In light of this, people are getting better about not having predictable passwords and being sure only to give payment information to secure sites and the like.

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Unfortunately, there are a number of ways in which internet use can leave anyone vulnerable to hacks and information exposure. Do you have a social media account that you use or, perhaps more importantly, that you don’t? Do you know how to remove personal information from Google? How familiar are you with your workplace’s privacy policy? Getting the answers and solutions to these questions (at least) could save you a whole lot of grief.

Online Profiles You’ve Stopped Using

There’s no other entity that inspires billions of people to willingly share their personal information, workplace, whereabouts, interests, appearance, habits, and often candid thoughts and opinions with, potentially, millions of other people than social networks. That makes them a dream come true for hackers, stalkers, identity thieves, privacy-ignoring corporations, and data brokers. As people come to recognize that, their social network use has often become more cautious and more guarded.

But what about that social network profile you set up years ago, maybe in high school or college—the one you haven’t looked at in years? What sort of pictures did you post there? What’s the likelihood that you made claims or shared opinions that would be an embarrassment to you now? And how would you feel about your friends, family, kids, coworkers, or boss reading them now? That’s the thing about the internet: anything you post there, however long ago, there’s a good chance it’s still there. The best practice is to delete any profiles that you no longer use to remove the risk of an account hack likely to go unnoticed, or your personal information being shared.

Defeating the Data Brokers

The previous section mentioned “data brokers.” Despite the brokering of data being a multi-billion dollar business, a lot of people are entirely unaware of it. While they may be aware that companies leverage their basic information, Google searches, and purchase history, etc. for advertising or research purposes, they would likely be shocked to find out just how personal and intimate much of the data collected by the data brokers is.

Thankfully, there are organizations out there that will remove personal information from Google for you. It’s also possible to look up the online data brokerages and manually request that they delete your information, though that can be a fairly tedious process. Fortunately, a reputable data removal organization can do it for you. The best of them will also offer a subscription service so that your personal information will remain private and stay removed year-round. Make sure they provide an accounting of the information they have deleted as well for added peace of mind.

Not Educating Yourself About Your Workplace’s Privacy Policy

Most workplaces are generally decent about it, but if you’re using hardware or devices paid for by the company, chances are that they are allowed to monitor you on it. The same usually goes for the use of a company’s software or networks on your own device. Your workplace may also have strict guidelines or policies around bringing your own device (BYOD), the networks or Wi-Fi connection you use, etc.

Educate yourself regarding your business’s privacy policy. There is always the possibility that even the most responsible, seemingly innocuous, best-practices and due-diligence compliant device or internet use may be violating rules you’re not fully aware of. And while being let go for any reason is miserable, being fired for what you thought was perfectly reasonable behavior while working hard is even worse.

About DeleteMe

Based in Boston, DeleteMe has established a national reputation as the premier private and personal information-protection organization. They have accomplished this by leveraging the expertise of their identity theft, consumer protection, and privacy teams to establish a comprehensive suite of privacy solutions that are both effective and user-friendly. If you’re concerned with password protection, payment security, removal from Whitepages, and whatever else protects security, personal and financial, you’ll find that DeleteMe is the preeminent security solution.

Guarantee that your information remains yours alone, at Joindeleteme.com


Original Source: https://goo.gl/ymKoe7

Privacy Issues and Mistakes That Can Make Your Life Far More Difficult and Get You Fired

With the recent wave of high-profile data breaches, business hacks, private information dumps, and financial network intrusions, internet security and privacy have gotten quite a bit of press. A lot of the online security basics are pretty well known: Have strong passwords, don’t open email attachments sent by strangers, and chances are there’s not really a foreign princess waiting to enrich and possibly marry you if only you’d share your account information.

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However, there are more specific privacy and security issues that can instigate misery, embarrassment, financial catastrophe, and even loss of your job. For instance, do you know your employer’s BYOD policy? Do you know how to remove personal information from Google? Do you know if your anti-virus/anti-malware software is up to date? The following list outlines some common internet security threats and mistakes and how those threats can be diminished or resolved with a bit of research and a little proactive risk mitigation.

Not Knowing (or Ignoring) Your Organization’s BYOD Policy

The bring your own device (BYOD) policy can vary 180 degrees from one company to the next. Many smaller (and larger) companies encourage employees using their own devices to work on either in-office or remotely. There are a number of benefits to BYOD. It’s convenient, generally more mobile, and people are often more comfortable on their own devices, to name a few.

However, a lot of organizations expressly forbid the using of personal devices due to security risks. Often personal devices will have a lower level of protection than dedicated company devices and using them can put private, sensitive, proprietary, personal, and financial data at risk. Which means that using those devices, even if nothing bad happens, can sometimes get you fired. If you don’t know your company’s BYOD policy, find out. Ask a manager, and if they don’t know it, they’ll know who will.

Dealing with the Data Brokers

Despite data brokering being a multi-billion dollar business, the average person knows next to nothing about data brokers. Every time you do a Google search, or really use the internet at all, data brokers are collecting your information. Those data brokers are organizations that scour and scrape the internet for information about you. Some of it is pretty innocuous, like your name, birthday, age, sex, etc. While some of it is incredibly personal. They buy and sell that information largely for corporate advertising and demographic analysis.

Beyond strangers knowing, buying, and selling your most intimate personal details being creepy, it definitely represents what most people would consider a pretty profound breach of privacy and can be used for nefarious purposes. Fortunately, there are services and organizations you can contract with to remove personal information from Google.

Adding Bosses and Coworkers as Friends on Social Media

Even if your boss and coworkers are the most fun, most laid-back people imaginable, it’s just not a great idea to “friend” them on social media networks. If you’re curious why, look up the case of the teacher who, while on vacation in Europe, posted to her profile a seemingly innocuous picture of herself holding alcohol. She was fired for it.

The picture had been protected with a privacy setting on “high,” leading to the conclusion that it had to be a “friend” from work who had emailed the shot to the school board. Even if you don’t believe that any of your work friends would report you, do keep in mind that any number of posts, pictures, claims, friends’ comments, etc. can put coworkers and definitely bosses in uncomfortable and unfortunate positions. Sometimes unfortunate enough that they are obligated to let you go.

About DeleteMe

Based in Boston, DeleteMe has established a national reputation as the premier private and personal information-protection organization. They have accomplished this by leveraging the expertise of their identity theft, consumer protection, and privacy teams to establish a comprehensive suite of privacy solutions that are both effective and user-friendly. If you’re concerned with password protection, payment security, removal from Whitepages, and whatever else protects security, personal and financial, you’ll find that DeleteMe is the preeminent security solution.

Guarantee that your information remains yours alone, at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/mmBbBm

 

Why You Should Care About Your Online Reputation and How to Protect It

The internet is a massive marketplace of products, services, and ideas. Unfortunately, the sheer mass of all three on the internet means that inevitably, some of them are going to be regrettable. The problem for consumers is distinguishing between the products, services, and ideas that are useful and trustworthy, and those that aren’t. The problem for businesses is assuring those customers that their product or service is trustworthy, dependable, and high-quality when there are so many out there that aren’t.

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A surprisingly high percentage of businesses respond to that problem with misconceptions. Those include disregarding the issue as meaningless, as random opinions on the internet are to be taken with a grain of salt; deciding that the internet is so vast, there’s nothing to be done about it; and the belief that responding is useless because who can tell a quality organization’s legitimate responses from a disreputable one’s dishonest excuses? The fact is, online reputation management (ORM) is an be effective marketing tool and refutation of all of those misconceptions.

Why ORM Is Important

Just as personal reputation managers will advise their clients that it’s better to remove personal information from Google than allow for damaging or sensitive information to remain available, a negative comment is not worth three positive ones or nothing at all. It’s true that people are skeptical of claims made on the internet. However, they are a lot more skeptical of claims made by companies touting the quality of their product or service than they are of a customer or client’s negative review.

Even on the internet, word-of-mouth is still one of the most effective tools for swaying customers for or against a business’ services. Due to the massive human traffic online, a great product can be smeared in a pettier, more vindictive, more pointless, and more widely-broadcast fashion than any other medium has ever made possible. It requires next to no effort for someone to give a bad review or make a harmful (and often untrue) claim because they’re a competitor, had a bad experience that was no fault of the business due to a misunderstanding, or simply because they’re bored.

What Can Be Done About It?

First off, some basic security should be considered. Engage an online privacy specialist who can teach executives and employees how to remove personal information from Google and how to avoid the sort of online behavior that can trigger negative responses. Protecting sales, credibility, your brand’s image, and maintaining a productive recruitment policy are all excellent reasons for avoiding negative public reactions as often as possible. As such a good defense should be paired with a robust offense as well.

And that offensive strategy is chiefly a matter of scouring the internet for negative claims about your business and responding to them. How that response is handled is obviously contextual. However, in most situations responding to a misconception is better than deleting negative comments or having them removed. Even when comments seem downright libelous, actively malicious, and /or a threat to profits and reputation, those can be the result of honest misunderstandings. Whenever possible, attempt to respond to comments with the truth, providing the facts and figures to support it when available. When appropriate, consider responding to the comment with an explanation and offer of refund or recompense in some way. A little communication can go a long way.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe is a Boston-based online service striving to improve the safety and user experience of everyone who uses the internet. They are committed to doing so by returning control of users’ data to the user. Employing the considerable expertise of their team of privacy, identity theft, and consumer protection experts allows them to offer a full suite of user-friendly privacy solutions. Whether you’re concerned about payment security, password protection, removal from Whitepages, or anything else that contributes to your personal data staying private, DeleteMe is the ultimate online security solution.

Ensure your privacy online, at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/JBAXYR

Why Do I Need a Disposable Email Address?

The internet is an often a frustrating double-edged sword. The more convenience and opportunity that becomes available, the greater the risk of your personal information being exposed and exploited. For every branded coupon, loyalty card, product, newsletter, or website registration that requires your email address, there’s a new addition to the aggregating digital footprint your email address leaves online.

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The wider that footprint gets, the easier it gets for parties you don’t want anything to do with following your tracks. The good news is that the choice doesn’t have to be between “avoid anything that requires you providing your email address,” or, “accept all risk associated with malicious, criminal, or simply annoying misuse of your email address.” There’s a third option: a disposable email address. So, is it worth it to use an anonymous, disposable email address?

Avoiding Spam

Any online security expert who knows their business will tell you that the more effectively you remove personal information from Google, or from the internet in general, the safer you become. That sort of security is most important for guarding against the more catastrophic compromising of your personal information; chiefly, criminal and malicious intrusions. However, the more common consequence of email appropriation, spam, is perhaps just as good a reason. Get a disposable email address, use it for the product, service, or purchase you had in mind, and let it be the sacrificial inbox.

Protecting Your Identity for Commerce

This covers a variety of different types of commerce for a variety of reasons. Online forums like Craigslist offer anyone with an internet connection the opportunity to buy or sell pretty much anything. Their popularity and the millions of people using them speak to their convenience. The downside is that it’s incredibly hard to regulate and involves the sharing of personal information on a massive scale. It’s become notorious for scamming and spamming. Even the e-commerce sites with the most rigorous security protecting your information have been known to auction personal information off to (or from) data brokers. And that means more spam.

Beating Reverse Email Searches

Even when an email address doesn’t feature something as obvious as its owner’s name or another identifier, there are other ways that personal information can be gleaned from the address. Those same security experts who explain how to remove personal information from Google and elsewhere will additionally inform you that there are data aggregation sites that collect personal information. For a fee, those sites will provide that information, including to anyone who pays for a reverse search based on your email address.

Fortunately, one can create a disposable or masked email address with the help of a secure, competent privacy protector, such as Blur by Abine. Using Blur one can create a disposable email address (Blur Masked Email address) to help mitigate or negate aforementioned risks.

Personal Information Sale Sleuthing

This is a fascinating and revealing use for disposable email addresses. If you’ve been receiving spam but don’t know what organization is responsible for spamming you, give this disposable email address investigatory technique a shot. Develop a list of the companies you’ve given your information to, or those who you provided information to recently before you began receiving the spam. Create a unique disposable email address for each of those companies, and use it for interaction with each individually. And voila, the inbox that fills with spam has just identified the perpetrator.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe is a Boston-based online service striving to improve the safety and user experience of everyone who uses the internet. They are committed to doing so by returning control of users’ data to the user. Employing the considerable expertise of their team of privacy, identity theft, and consumer protection experts allows them to offer a full suite of user-friendly privacy solutions. Whether you’re concerned about payment security, password protection, removal from Whitepages, or anything else that contributes to your personal data staying private, DeleteMe is the ultimate online security solution.

Ensure your privacy online, at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/5cBpaC

The Sneaky Ways Data Brokers Gather Information About You

It’s no surprise that purchases are tracked, which can legitimately provide relevant product or service suggestions based on your past purchases. But it’s not just helping the company you bought a product or service from online. Many websites, including retail outlets and others, will also sell your info to other advertisers, retailers, and data collection or retention entities. That can seem harmless enough—except that most people would probably prefer their history with websites not be shared when those sites involve an illness they suffer from, an addiction, adult purchases, personal debts, or anything else with a stigma attached to it.

Even brick-and-mortar businesses participate in this information marketplace. They will often ask for your email address when you complete a purchase. This is exactly the kind of information that data brokers will pay for.

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Third-Party Tracking

As uncomfortable as the thought of a website sharing your preferences, quirks, and browsing history is, those sites often invite friends. A site, particularly big ones that get a lot of traffic, often allow a dozen or more third parties to observe your web browsing. So there’s a good chance that every time you’re on the internet, you have picked up a whole crowd of third parties tracking your movement to record interests, habits, demographic information, and anything else they can learn. These third parties then sell your personal data and information to other data brokers.

Apps

Another sneaky back door through which data brokers can collect your information is app downloads. For instance, two apps with well over a billion downloads combined, Angry Birds and “Brightest Flashlight Free,” are indeed free. That is, unless you count the permission downloading those apps gives to the companies offering them to track everything you do online and sell it to other companies.

And that’s just the legal sneaking. The company responsible for an app called “Path Social” was fined $800,000 by the Federal Trade Commission after they were caught hacking their users’ digital address books and stealing their contacts’ information. It’s good they were caught, but apps are still a very poorly regulated corner of the electronic universe.

The DMV

Believe it or not, even state governments get in on data brokering. Over the last several years, stories have broken from states all over the country outed for selling hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of data. Because so much about the legality and ethics of data brokering hasn’t been established, in a number of these states public officials are trying to figure out whether or not selling that information is even legal.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Thankfully, the average consumer is not without options, and there are resources on how to remove personal information from Google. You can close accounts you’re not using, look up the big data brokering firms and request an “opt-out” from their databases, or you can find a reputable and competent company to expedite your private information being removed from those collecting it. These professionals can help keep your personal information private and take the stress of tracking down and removing your personal information off your shoulders.

About DeleteMe

Based out of Boston, DeleteMe is working to make the internet a better, safer place by putting users back in control of their data. Led by consumer protection, privacy, and identity theft experts, they are passionate about offering user-friendly privacy solutions. From password and payment security to removal from Whitepages, DeleteMe is here to help keep your personal information private.

Protect your privacy at Joindeleteme.com

Original Source: https://goo.gl/rKNyvS

The Extremely Personal Information Data Brokers May Know About You

Even without the recent revelations about Facebook sharing user data, it would be hard for anyone who has spent time online to be unaware that information about us is being shared with entities that are using that info to make money. Just one creepily-specific targeted ad is generally enough to clue us in.

What probably would come as a surprise is how incredibly personal the information about you being bought and sold is. If you don’t like the idea of your (most) private details being tracked, stored, quantified, and leveraged like some impersonal commodity with every use of a search engine, you’re not alone. And fortunately, finding out how to remove personal information from Google can be easier than you’d think.

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How Data Brokers Get Your Information

Data brokering is a multi-billion-dollar industry—and the people involved want the public to know as little about as possible. They glean information in countless ways, employing algorithms that track, collect, collate, and analyze anything they can about potential customers of virtually every industry imaginable.

Some of the information is pretty basic and (to some) fairly innocuous, like your name, age, and the state you live in—much of which can just be picked up from public records. Then there’s the far more personal information. There’s nowhere near enough room here to list all of the ways in which your details are collected, but there are a few common ones we’ll address.

Much of your personal information is gathered from your purchases and your web history. Online retailers keep track of what you buy for a number of reasons, one of which is often selling that purchase history to other advertisers. Then there are third-party sites that pay for the privilege of observing your web-browsing. So every time you’re on the internet, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’re being followed by a horde of tracking entities, following wherever you go and whatever you search.

How They Use It

Once a data broker has access to your purchase history, search history, name, age, IP address, and location (often your home address), it’s not hard to build a profile. There are data brokering firms that specialize in digging up people’s details based on their online activity.

A data broker hired by a pharmaceutical company, for instance, can draw on the information they gather, buy (or both) to establish lists of people who suffer from basically any illness or ailment imaginable. Even without actual access to medical records, if someone frequents a website on which diabetes treatment equipment is sold, or has visited websites about living with diabetes, etc., it’s not hard for these data brokers’ algorithms to target that person as a diabetic. Keep in mind this targeting will occur whether the individual is actually diabetic or not, and data brokers can pinpoint their location to an address.

The same goes for people with mental illnesses; STDs; or addiction to drugs, alcohol, or gambling. Data brokers can also uncover users’ sexuality and any purchases of adult products they’ve made, in addition to whether or not they’re in debt and how desperate they seem to get out of it. There are interested parties willing to pay good money to obtain lists like that, and data brokers are happy to sell them.

What You Can Do

As harrowing as the reality of that sort of invasion of privacy is, it’s not impossible to remove personal information from Google. While going off the grid and never using the internet is most likely not feasible, your online footprint can at least be mitigated.

Quit accounts that you’re no longer using. And remember that search engines are just the messenger, most of the time, not necessarily the offender. Although it’s generally time-consuming, you have every right to contact data brokering firms and request that your info is removed.

One of the most effective ways to remove your personal information from Google or data brokers is to work with a professional company that can help manage and remove your personal information so it stays private. Find an outfit like DeleteMe and have your private information scrubbed from public trading.

About DeleteMe

Based out of Boston, DeleteMe is working to make the internet a better, safer place by putting users back in control of their data. Led by consumer protection, privacy, and identity theft experts, they are passionate about offering user-friendly privacy solutions. From password and payment security to removal from Whitepages, DeleteMe is here to help keep your personal information private.

Protect your privacy at Joindeleteme.com


Original Source: https://goo.gl/Yw1MFj