Online privacy and Internet safety, as well as identity theft, are becoming staple topics in newsrooms and dinner tables across the country.
The impending curiosity of strangers whether they have malice in their intentions or not is probably not going away anytime soon.
Even some transactions on Craigslist can raise an eyebrow every now and then.
Short of constantly living in fear, what’s a family to do?
Unfortunately, there are no easy answers. However, education and a few proactive tasks can keep the bad guys on their heels.
Adequately Dispose of Pre-Approved Credit Notices & Old Bills
All those pre-approval notices that come in the mail need to be shredded at the very least.
Even better is opting out of the approval notice racket altogether, but either way those notices and offers need to be disposed up properly.
In the wrong hands, they can do a lot of damage.
Even old bills can be a source of intel for locating certain accounts, so be sure to shred or burn those as well.
Protect Your Passwords & Pins
While sharing an email password with a spouse is not entirely unusual, handing a password over to a stranger is a little insane.
However, even the kids can do some damage with an email password, imagine sending a teacher a scathing email or having one intercepted before actually receiving it.
The same goes for those PIN’s everyone seems to toss around.
Take note of who might be standing around you. If you are in the checkout line and the person behind you is too close, ask them to back up.
Plus pay attention to any cell phone camera that might be pointed in your direction nearby.
Oh, and change those things every now and then.
While using the same password for several accounts makes it easy to remember, it can also compromise several websites at one time, so change it up.
Check on the Kids
One factor seems to affect the way many families handle online privacy, the kids know more than the parents when it comes to technology.
The catch here is that when it comes to life lessons, the parents usually have the bulk of the experience.
That being said, while sharing pictures from a vacation or concert is great, certain other pictures should stay offline.
Parents should not have an idea of what the kids are doing online, they should know.
While spying on the kids may be a little over the top, depending on the circumstances it may be necessary to prevent serious consequences.
The bottom line is a parent can be the bad guy to prevent a real bad guy from stepping in. Of course, walking the line between concerned parent and 007 is tough sometimes.
Know Your Privacy Settings
Many of the different software packages that are widely used on the Internet have privacy settings.
Of course, social networking participants in particular should regularly check and be aware of their settings.
These settings can be the difference between someone you want viewing your profile, and someone you definitely do not want perusing your personal information, pictures, and thoughts.
Be Careful What You Share
Just about anything uploaded to the Internet is viewable by the world at large unless protected by a privacy setting or other means.
That means everyone can see that picture your friends put up that seemed so funny at the time.
Of course, potential and current employers who may stumble across the picture may not be smiling when they see it.
The same goes for intensely private information, but all it takes is a bit of common sense.
Posting about not liking something is, obviously, fine but a two-page rant may qualify as going over the top.
Just be aware that anyone care read a blog or check out your web articles and exercise some restraint, just as other places in life sharing too much information in cyberspace has a fair share of consequences too.
We, at We Trust, want to make users aware that they need to shoulder some of the responsibility for protecting their identities online.
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