Between social media sites and general web surfing, the Internet can be a pretty fun place. However, when potential employers Google your name, you want to be sure they don’t turn up anything that would discourage them from hiring you.
It’s all well and good to make sure you keep your web image clean by monitoring what’s public, but none of that can help you when someone else accesses your account and posts your personal information.
Here are four ways you can keep your user data and image safe and secure online.
1. Make sure your password is strong and secure
So many people use the same password across all their accounts and sites that once an identity thief grabs one password, he or she can get access to all your information. Change your passwords regularly, set different passwords for all important sites, and pick long and complex passwords rather than short and simple ones.
2. Keep your browsers and anti-viruses up to date
Most browsers have built-in protection from identity-stealing software, as do spyware and anti-virus programs. However, new malevolent software is created every day and it can be challenging to stay safe against all of it.
Make sure all your protective programs are up to date, which will ensure you get the best possible protection from identity theft activity.
3. Learn to recognize phishing emails
Phishing emails appear to be from a legitimate source, such as websites many people frequent (e.g., Facebook). These emails will usually ask you to provide your username and password or a link to log into a fake version of a legitimate website.
Most sites will not ask for user information in emails. If an email asks you to login, manually type the web address it claims to be from, rather than clicking on the link in the email.
4. Think before you download
This one is simple: don’t download anything if you don’t know what it is. If a site says you have to download a plug-in or software and you don’t know if it’s legitimate, Google the program name first.
Above all, stay safe
Even with all these measures to protect your identity online, it’s important to remember that you can’t control what other people say about you. After all, even Taylor Swift hesitates to Google herself!
All the efforts you take to prevent other people from accessing your accounts and sharing information under your name can be undone if you do the damage yourself and post things publicly that you don’t want the whole world to see. But if you are careful and think before you post, it isn’t too difficult to stay safe!