Protecting oneself from theft is a lot harder today than it used to be. Whereas we previously only had to worry about a thief coming by and swiping our wallets and purses or robbing our residence, the rise of the digital age has led to a more passive sort of financial disaster. All it takes is one hacked phone or one lapsed password to turn our lives upside down and compromise our security. A report from across the continent and the ocean offers up some online safety tips that would be applicable anywhere in the world.
The first thing you should do is minimize how much of your identifying information is available on social media and various online platforms. The more readily available your address, email, and phone number are, the easier it is for someone to impersonate you or defraud you.
You should also keep your passwords private and make sure that these passwords are varied and changed often. If you use one password for a secure site like your bank account, then you certainly don’t want to use the same password for more easily hackable things like social media and other less-secure sites, especially if you engage in online activities on a phone and you can’t be sure that the network is secure.
Also be wary when somebody you don’t know contacts you via email or social media, or even when an acquaintance contacts you but something seems off. There’s always a chance that they may have been hacked. Should you be the recipient of web spam, delete it outright, and whatever you do, do not click on any links that take you to an external source. Similarly, you should avoid downloading or opening attachments that could compromise the security of your computer or phone.
It’s that latter device, the phone, that has recently turned digital security upside down. But there are things you can do to protect yourself should you conduct much of your online affairs on this device. Your phone should have locking capabilities so that only you can access it. Take advantage of these, and come up with a suitable password that can’t easily be guessed. And to further protect yourself, consider taking advantage of one of the apps out there that can locate your phone when it’s lost or wipe the data if you feel security has been compromised.
Finally, realize some of the more physical threats that could be presented by phone usage. Don’t be a distracted walker. Know your surroundings and refrain from focusing all of your attention on your mobile device. Refrain from texting until you’ve stopped or reached your destination, and should you cross the street, pay attention to vehicles in the area and all relevant traffic signals.