N is for Never Neglect Your Digital Imprint

In today’s high tech world we have the ability to gain information, send messages, and shop for goods all with the click of a few buttons. However, every time we search, post or buy we are leaving a digital track which is then data mined by the browser, app or service. This data gives data brokers the ability to combine multiple sources and create a customized imprint for each of us.

Most of us have no need to fear as we have nothing to hide, but what if someone out there uses our information in a harmful way.  There is no need for alarm, but we must never neglect our digital imprint. We can start by being vigilant about our privacy keeping in mind “nothing is free, ”  and each time we download that fee app or join a social networking group, we may be giving away some of our privacy.

A few quick tips to help secure online privacy:

Don’t share – too much information on social networking sites, this will lower the chance of your personal material being used negatively.

Search yourself — use pipl.com to see where you pop-up then try to have some of this data removed. Contact the webmaster of each individual site and request the removal of your information. Keep in mind sites are protected by the freedom of speech and do not have to comply. Still, it’s worth the try.  If you wish you can pay a service like Deleteme to do it for you.

Go to your Facebook and Google privacy settings — and adjust your settings. You can choose to turn off visibility and activity, delete history and manage what you share. Consider opting out of as much advertising tracking as possible.

Smartphones – go to your settings and delete apps you don’t use, for apps you keep adjust notifications, location access, contact access and access to cellar data. Go to Privacy and turn off share analytics data and turn “on” limit ad tracking.

Block your browser – downloading information we want also brings with it – invisible trackers. Use a free tracker-blocking browser plugin like Privacy Badger, or use a free service like Abine Blur, or Disconnect Me that also has a premium version should you wish to upgrade.

Hide — when using public Wi-Fi use a virtual private network (VPN) which will encrypt and reroute all your traffic making it harder for those looking for information.  Use a reputable service like VyprVPN by GoldenFrog.

The above tips are just a few steps you can take to help ensure your privacy so that your digital imprint is as minimal as possible.  For more tips see Consumer Reports.org where you will find 66 ways to protect your privacy.  If this sounds too overwhelming, try Consumer Repots.org 10-minute Digital Privacy Tune-up. By taking the time to implement some privacy tips you may enjoy browsing the internet without giving away your personal imprint.

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About Ann Zuraw

Ann Zuraw, the voice behind "Chicks, Chat and Change", is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™).If you have comments on this post contact Ann Zuraw

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