Cases of identity theft have been on the rise in the recent past. When malicious people get their hands on your personal data, they can make more harm than good. They can easily take credits or file tax refunds in your name, drain your bank accounts, open utility accounts, use your name in crime or even use your medical insurance to get treatment.

Before you start getting calls on debts you know nothing about, or the police showing up on your door with a warranty of arrest, it is important that you’re protecting your personal data.

Here are 5 tips you can implement to ensure that your data stays secure with you.

1. Use a VPN

Open WiFi hotspots in your local café, library or airport are a savior when it comes to saving a few bucks on internet costs. However, these WiFi sources lack data encryption. Anyone browsing in the locality can easily eavesdrop on what you are doing and capture any data that you share over the internet including passwords, social security numbers and bank details.

That is why it is important to take precautions whenever you are using public WiFi. For starters, ensure that you use a VPN when connecting to the internet. A VPN will encrypt any data that you send over the internet.

That being said, however, your VPN provider remains with your browsing history. You can never be too sure what they do with that information. That is why it is wise to ensure that you are using a trusted VPN such as NordVPN. It is available on Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, iOS and has extensions for Chrome and Firefox. NordVPN guarantees faster connection speeds and security over 6 devices simultaneously.

More: WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH WIFI IN THE SKY?

2. Use strong passwords

It goes without saying that anyone can access a device that has no password. You probably know this, and you have ensured that all your devices are protected by a password in case that you lose them. You should, however, understand that not just any password can protect your devices.

If you use a simple, easy-to-guess password, your devices still remain vulnerable. Create a strong password that is long enough and includes upper and lower cases, numbers and symbols. Avoid using your personal information such as your name and birth date in your passwords.

3. Update your devices

Devices manufacturers keep releasing software updates. You probably have encountered those pop-ups alerting you that your computer, tablet or mobile phone needs to be updated. While it is easy to ignore and check the ‘Remind me later’ button, you should remember that you are compromising the security of your devices.

The manufacturers might have noticed a security hole in the software and implemented enhanced measures to keep your devices secure. These security holes are what hackers use to invade your device and steal your data. At any given time, ensure that you are using the latest version of the software in all your devices.

4. Don’t share personal data over the phone

People have reported cases where they receive a call from people posing as relatives, the government, service providers or even charity organizations. They then go ahead and divulge their personal data only for the worst to happen afterward.

Refrain from giving out your personal information to anyone over the phone, no matter how genuine they sound. If they give you a name of where they are calling from, it is important that you follow up with those organizations to establish if they are legit.

5. Stay secure offline

So much has been said on securing your data online. However, malicious people could well be just around you. Even as you protect yourself online, don’t forget to do so offline. Ensure that your personal documents are locked up in a safe. Make a habit of carrying minimal documents whenever you leave the house or work. Carry only what you will need in your daily transactions.

If you find yourself in a place where you are asked to fill out your personal information, go a step further to inquire why they need it and where they are going to use it.

Conclusion

Most people don’t view personal data security with the weight it deserves. It is easy to ignore the presence of identity thieves until it happens to you or to a person close to you. However, data theft is an ordeal you don’t want to deal with. Employ the above measures to stay secure.

The post 5 Tips For Safeguarding your Personal Data was first published on Coworkaholic.

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