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Viral Element / Tips & Tricks  / 5 Tips to Protect Your Privacy Online
Man looking at laptop with a lock on the screen

5 Tips to Protect Your Privacy Online

When you search for, view, or purchase something online, you are creating a digital footprint. Others can track your online activities and, if you’re not careful, information about you and your online activities can fall into the hands of the wrong person. There are several ways to safeguard your privacy online. The following five tips can help to protect your privacy.


1) Use Strong Passwords

Your passwords shouldn’t include your name or any other personal information that could be easy for hackers to guess. To improve the strength of your password, you should include letters, numbers, and special characters. The use of phrases can make strong passwords as well.


2) Be careful where you shop online

You should only shop on sites that have the “https” or the padlock icon next to the URL. It’s also better to use a credit card than a debit card when shopping online. Most credit card companies are able to quickly detect and notify credit card users of suspicious or fraudulent activity. A lot of credit card companies also offer reimbursement for fraudulent charges.


3) Don’t give out personal information unless it’s absolutely necessary

Companies and brands are asking for more and more information in order to track your location and offer specific services and targeted ads. Although in most cases this is harmless and can even be helpful, some advertisers can take advantage of this by selling your information. Giving out too much personal information can increase the chances of your information getting into the hands of the wrong person.


To help prevent this from happening, be careful how much personal information you give out online. You can also switch location data off and on through your phone and in browsers. Another option is to block third-party cookies in browsers to maintain anonymity. Additionally, you can browse the Internet privately or anonymously by using services like Virtual Private Network (VPN) or Tor, which is a free open network.


4) Be selective about what you share on social media

You should check your privacy settings on your social media accounts to make sure only friends can see what you’re doing. You should also be selective about the information you provide in your profile.


Facebook, for example, allows you to share personal information, such as your phone number, email, birth date, places lived, place of employment, and so on. People who really need to know this information should already have it. It doesn’t need to be shared with the rest of the world. Besides, this information could be used by someone to steal your identity.


5) Be careful about what you click on and download

If you receive an email from someone you don’t really know or don’t know at all, you should never click on a link or download anything contained in the email. The links or downloads could possibly contain malware. You should also be careful what you click on or download when browsing the Internet. Certain websites could be used to lure you into giving out personal information. They may also contain downloads that are designed to install malware on your computer.


Bottom line — be selective about the personal information you give out online. You never know when your information may fall into the hands of the wrong person. You should also be careful about the links you click on. You should never click a link or download anything from someone you don’t know.