5 ways to protect yourself online

ACTIVITY

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These days the average person spends almost two hours out of every 24 online. From using Facebook to online banking, shopping on eBay to simple old-fashioned email, we share an enormous amount of our personal information with the rest of the world. Some of it is deliberate, but a lot of it is done unwittingly and without our knowledge.

With online crime and identity theft on the rise across the world, protecting your personal information has become more important than ever. Thankfully, there are some pretty easy ways you can protect your information and yourself.

1. Stop and think

Before you share any personal or financial information, whether it’s about you, your family or your friends pause and think about whether you should be doing it. With so many websites and emails designed to scam people for their personal information, don’t give out any personal information, particularly via email, such as your driver’s licence, Medicare number, bank details or even your date of birth or your address unless you know and trust the other person involved.

2. Keep it private

Most of us use social networking sites like Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter, but how many of us post things that we thought were private but really weren’t. Make sure you adjust your privacy settings to control what information you want to share and with who you share it. Do you really want people you don’t really know seeing every little bit about your life?

3. It’s your email - keep it that way

If you think twice about giving your email address out to a person or website, then don’t. Think about why you are providing your email, what are you going to get out of it and whether you really want them sending you emails you never really needed to see.

A good tip is to read the website privacy policy as it will let you know how your email address will be used.

4. Double up

Most retail or competition sites will ask you for your email address. You may simply want to register for a competition or grab a once off bargain. A good tip is to use a second email address for these purposes and keep your primary email address for use with friends, family and trusted businesses.

5. Set strong passwords

This point can’t be more important. We have so many accounts online now that need a password and all too often people use the same password for everything. Make sure you set a really strong password that is difficult to hack and change your password regularly. Put a reminder in your phone or calendar to do it on a regular basis.