6 Ways to Protect Personal Information Online

As you can tell from my photo, I do quite a bit of online shopping during the holiday season. It’s quick, convenient, and gets delivered right to my office and/or home. Win-win-win! But, I do know that ordering items online isn’t without some risks.

In fact, it seems as though every time I turn on the news, I hear about a large data breach, which has exposed millions of customers’ personal data to criminals. So, with the hype around Black Friday & Cyber Monday, I wanted to share a few tips for you to ensure that your personal information doesn’t end up in the hands of criminals.

Create Strong Passwords

When you create your online passwords, it is wise to not use words or numbers that a cybercriminal can easily crack, such as your birthday. Instead, choose combinations of lower & upper case letters, random numbers, as well as some symbols. And, it is always a good idea to change them periodically.

Don’t Overshare on Social Media

I may have been guilty of oversharing on social media once or twice. But, Cybersecurity experts note that oversharing on social media can put your personal information at risk. Take a moment to check your privacy settings so you know exactly who is seeing your posts – and only have close friends & family view your posts. In addition, it is wise to never post your exact location, hometown, birthday, or other personal information.

Use Free Wi-Fi with Caution

Did you know that most free public Wi-Fi networks have very few security measures in place? This means others around you, that are using the same network, can (and will) monitor your activity. So, best practice is to wait until you are at home on a very secure, password protected, network.

Watch Out for Links & Attachments

This is a biggie – what our Cybersecurity Experts tell us is that Cybercriminals will compose phishing scams to look like legitimate communications from a bank, utility company, etc…How can you tell if it’s a cyberscam or the real deal? Certain things like spelling errors are a dead giveaway.  Also, check out the email address from the sender. If it is different that the senders address, this is a good clue that the email is a spam.  When in doubt, call the customer service line for that sender to verify if their email request is legit!

Check to See if the Website is Secure

Before you enter personal information into a website, check your browser. There should be a “lock” symbol and the URL should begin with “https”. If the site you are visiting has both of these, it means that the site is secure.  There are also a few other ways to determine if the site is secure:

  • Review their website privacy policy
  • Review their contact information
  • Check for a “Verified Secure” seal

You Can Always Consider Additional Protection

Most Cybersecurity Experts recommend installing anti-virus software, anti-spyware software, as well as a firewall. There is also always cyber insurance, which can keep you and your family safe if you ever fall victim to an attack. If this is something that you would like to discuss further, please don’t hesitate to give any of us a call at Langlois Insurance Agency at #815-485-2106. We are more than happy to discuss this beneficial coverage with you.

As always, if you ever have any questions or comments on any of your insurance needs, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.  We always love to hear from our customers!

Warmest Regards,

Matt Langlois