How To Keep Your Data Safe
Information has always been power and that has not altered. Nowadays people may say that data is valuable, but the expression means the same. So, if your information or your data is so valuable, how can you keep it confidential? In other words, how can you safeguard yourself and your savings?
The Internet, viruses, scanners, chips, RFID, credit cards and spyware make the job very difficult, if a criminal wants to get access to your data. Regrettably, it is not good enough to hope that a data thief will not pick on you.
Your bank, your insurance company or the government may give your details to them by leaving them on trains, throwing them in skips or leaving them on hard drives in computers that they later sell secondhand on eBay. It occurs several times a year that we hear about, who knows how many times more?
So, what can you do? Well, there are quite a few things that you can do, but the problem is that most people will not apply them until it is too late, hoping that they will not be a victim of data snooping.
The first thing to do is to try to safeguard your data. That sounds obvious, but how do you go about it?
Let's start with your written name and address. You could notify your local council that you want to be taken off any lists that they give out to anybody that asks for them. Similarly, you can have your address taken of the junk mail lists and you can have your phone number taken off the junk phone mail list. Ask your local municipality how to do this.
You could buy things with a 'post restante' address at your local post office. If need be, explain why to the company you are buying from why you are doing that. Or you could have your post redirected from one address to another.
For example, if you have a lock-up address, use that address, but pay the post office to re-direct your mail to where you wake up every day. Another idea to try is to modify your name. Add in your middle initial, or your full middle name. Add the suffix 'senior' or 'junior' and keep notes. If you get junk mail with these names, you know who to complain to.
You computer probably contains a lot of sensitive data and you should take care of it, not least because some of that data will be the email addresses of your acquaintances and you do not want to introduce them to criminals, do you? Luckily, this form of protection is comparatively simple.
Make certain that you use a firewall and anti-virus software. Use the best you can afford. The best will cost about $50-60 a year. At $1 a week, it is not worth being stingy. You can get free software to do the task and some of it is pretty good, but how many times do you want to select the wrong one?
Then there is your purse. RFID tags are inserted in most ID cards and credit cards these days and they can be read by the thousands of RFID readers in hotels, hospitals, offices and shops. Think about shielding your wallet, bag or purse or wherever you keep your cards, so that they cannot be read by random RFID readers.