Sunday, September 26, 2021

National Data Privacy Day is Thursday, January 28, making it the perfect time to resolve to take extra precautions to secure your personally identifiable information (PII). We all share large amounts of information when we use the internet. Our devices communicate with us – and with each other – for ease of shopping, banking, travel arrangements, and keeping in touch with friends. BBB reminds consumers to keep data safe from scams, fraud, and identity theft.

Quite a bit of information is already shared online via various devices,” Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas said. “That’s why whenever you’re online, it’s important to safeguard your information to help avoid scams, fraud, and identity theft.”

The Better Business Bureau and the National Cyber Security Alliance offer the following tips to help secure the privacy of critical information:

Share with care. What you post can last a lifetime, so think about who will see your posts and photos, how they will be perceived, and what information they reveal about you.

Own your online presence. Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. Remember, it’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

Value your personal information. Think of your personal information like money: value and protect it. Be careful what sites you visit and be sure you are on a legitimate site before entering personal information. Be especially wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.

Make your passwords long and strong. Use long passwords with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols – eight characters for most accounts, twelve characters for email and financial accounts. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts, especially email and financial. Keep a paper list of your passwords in a safe place, not on or near your computer. Consider using a password vault application.

Lock down your login. For your online accounts, use the strongest authentication tools available. Your user names and passwords are no longer enough; consider multi-factor authentication for key accounts like email, banking, and social media, especially for access on mobile devices.

Don’t click on unfamiliar links. Whether at home or at work, don’t click on links from unfamiliar sources or unexpected correspondence. One false click can infect a whole computer… or a whole business.

Pay attention to Internet-connected devices. Smart thermostats, voice control systems, cars, even refrigerators are just the beginning of the growing list of devices that watch our homes and track our location. Read the privacy policy and understand what data is being collected and how it will be used.

For more information:

Find out if your business complies with privacy laws, follow these tips from BBB National Programs. Businesses can also learn more by going to Five Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity. To find a trustworthy IT/Network Solutions Consultant, go to bbb.org.

Check out the National Cyber Security Alliance’s Privacy Tips, including special information for teens, parents, older adults, mobile users, and more.

Listen to privacy and security professionals discuss data privacy issues on the BBB National Programs “Better Business > Better Series” podcast series. Make sure to subscribe to the series on your mobile device or listen to it on the web.

About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. There are over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central East Texas, which was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.