Friday, March 13, 2015

March Challenge #13 Privacy

Today's challenge is to look at your privacy and, if necessary, take steps to insure that you are protected from invasions thereof.  Here's how:

  • Remove your name from your mailbox (if you must have some sort of identification on your box, tape your name inside of it for the mailman's use only).
  • Have a locking mailbox if at all possible.
  • Put up a 'no soliciting' sign on your door and get in the habit of not answering your door unless it is to someone you know.
  • Be careful when allowing people into your home to provide services (such as the cable guy, a plumber, etc) they could be casing your home for a later burglary.
  • Remove any identifying information from your vehicle (the "my kid goes to X school" and the stick figures on the back window with each person's name on it.  This is just dumb--and too much information for anyone who may be wishing to do you harm).
  • Pull your free annual credit report and correct any incorrect information immediately.
  • Get in the habit of checking your bank and credit accounts regularly.  If you don't recognize a transaction, even something small, contact your bank immediately.
  • Get a shredder and shred any mail or other papers with your personal information on it.
  • Get in the habit of paying cash for most purchases (unless it is a big purchase and you want the added consumer protection of using a credit/bank card).
  • Don't sign up for contests and drawing that ask for your personal information.
  • Change your online passwords every three or four months.
  • Don't join social media networks (if you must, provide only very generic information).
  • Be careful of what you post on social media (ie: vacation plans are an easy invitation for burglars if they know you won't be home).
  • Password protect your phone/tablet/computer and any back-up drives.
  • Browse the web in an incognito window.  And use a VPN when using the internet over public wi fi.
  • Change the name/password for your home wi fi on a regular basis.
  • Rekey all of the locks in your home when you first move in and when anyone moves out.
  • Get on the Do Not Call list.
  • Don't fall victim to fraud and/or scams (Google can often help you figure out if the situation you are dealing with is one or the other).
  • Don't give personal information to anyone who calls you (businesses and government agencies will not call you out of the blue and ask you for personal information).
The proceeding information is only a short list of things you can do to ensure your privacy and protect yourself from scams, fraud, or worse.

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