As a devoted technophile, you love anything and everything to do with your smartphone, computer, and tablet. You enjoy buying the latest devices and use these gadgets every day for everything from getting work done and personal finance to keeping tabs on your health and staying in touch with friends through social media.
While you adore your handheld tech, you also wonder if your gadget addiction might put you at an increased risk of identity theft. You’ve seen the stats, like those put out by Javelin Strategy that found that 15.4 million consumers were victims of identity theft or fraud in 2017, which is a 16 percent increase from 2015.
Fortunately, you do not have to go back to paying your bills by check and doing all of your shopping in person. By being aware of the risks and taking steps to be as careful as possible with your personal info, you can continue to enjoy all of your electronic gadgets.
Wearable Technology: Check the User Agreement
Fitbit accessories and other types of wearable technology come with their own set of privacy and security concerns. The more sensors that are added to our accessories and even our clothing and shoes, the more data that will be collected about us and possibly shared with places we are not even aware of. For instance, that wearable that collects data on your heart rate and the number of calories that you are burning every day; what happens to this information? Are you the only one who can access it, or is it possibly getting sent out to a third party?
The more info that is collected, stored and/or transmitted, the greater your risk may be to having your privacy compromised. To avoid this situation as much as possible, take the time to read the fine print on your user agreement for each device, and understand where the data is going and who has access to it. If you are uncomfortable with how it is being shared, stop using the device.
Online Shopping Accounts: Protect Your Data
As fraud moves online, your accounts with online shopping websites may be attractive targets for cybercrooks. When placing an order on a website, always opt to not store your credit card info on the site. While it may be a pain to have to re-enter your account info every time you place an order, it will be less of a hassle than contending with identity theft.
Enable two-factor authentication on the sites that offer it; for example, Amazon. For the e-commerce sites without this feature, use strong passwords or a password manager to keep your data secure. As a backup, invest in an identity theft protection plan that will closely monitor all of your online activity, watching for problems with security breaches.
Social Media: Be Careful What You Share
While you might enjoy staying in touch with friends and relatives on social media sites like Facebook and Instagram, you may also unwittingly keep cybercriminals up to date on your personal data. Review your settings to be sure your profile is only visible to your friends and avoid accepting requests to connect with people you do not know. Also, avoid posting personal data on the sites like your address, phone number, and even your pets’ names, as you may have used Fido’s name as part of your passwords.
Enjoy Technology, But Be Aware
When it comes to different types of technology, awareness can be the key to protection. By being aware of how your data might be compromised on wearable tech, online vendors, and social media, you can take the steps to secure your personal information and continue enjoying your electronic devices as much as you want.