Keeping Personal Data Safe: Mistakes You Should Avoid

Theft of personal data is a rising phenomenon and seems to be growing as technology further progresses. What’s more, businesses and organizations are equally affected by this menace. Despite having in place data security measures, individuals and organizations can still fall victim to data thieves. So why is your data so important to these e-criminals? The answer is simple; your data can be used clear-out your bank account, or worse, steal your identity to commit fraud and other criminal activities.

There are many mistakes organizations and individuals can make which can lead to theft of their data. Taking simple measures can certainly safeguard your data from potential theft. The following is a list of things you need to be aware of in-order to protect yourself.

Shred your paper work:

            If you decide to discard any documents, such as credit statements, bank statements, utility bills and other related information, then you need to make it a habit to shred such documents every time you decide to throw them out.  More than often, Dumpster-divers will often go through your pile of garbage seeking out un-shredded statements containing bits of your personal information. Once these so called “Dumpster-divers” get a hold of your information, it’s only a matter of time before they use your information to max out your credit card, or perhaps transfer your life savings from your savings account, to an offshore account.

To effectively shred such documents, make sure you make use a cross-shredder instead of a traditional shredder. Cross-shredders can shred such documents much more effectively than traditional shredders.

Smash your old hard-drive into pieces:

           This step may seem a bit on the extreme side, but that’s what you have to do in order to keep your personal data safe. Even if you had previously stored personal data on your hard-drive and then happened to delete that data — thinking it was permanently wiped-out of your hard-drive; chances are your deleted data could still be retrieved. Data recovery software can easily recover most permanently deleted data.

           When you empty your recycle bin, it may appear that the data stored in your recycle bin is gone forever. However, bits of data are always present on your hard-drive, and basic data recovery software can easily retrieve such deleted data. Thus, when you send in your old desktop or laptop for recycling, chances are that someone may try to retrieve your personal data on your laptop or desktop.  Therefore, this is the reason why you need to smash your hard-drive, before you recycle your machine.

Use anti-data theft software and antivirus software:

           If you, for some reason, need to store confidential data on your personal computer, you can do so securely with the help software that can lock folders. Moreover, investing in good anti-virus software will help you keep your identity safe on the internet.

Stay away from Phishing email:

           Phishing is the practice of recording your personal user-names and passwords so that some kind of fraud can be conducted using your log-in credentials. The scam works something like this: you receive an email from Facebook, or perhaps your bank, prompting you to log-in, so that your identity can be confirmed. Most people don’t think twice about such emails, and will log-in to confirm their accounts and to prove their identities. Little do you know, in the background, your credentials are being recorded by key-logging software!

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