In a world where data are now considered more valuable than gold, it makes perfect sense to guard yours as carefully as possible. Just by taking basic precautions online (not following phishing links, being careful when sharing a primary email address, etc) you can avoid the majority of hacking attempts. After all – why bother with someone who is careful when there is so much more low hanging fruit to steal from? Yet there are a few other ways to help protect your information from prying eyes, and here are a few of the best.
1) Anti Camera Plate Blockers
You may be surprised to learn that it is perfectly legal to use covers that prevent 9/10 cameras from recording your license plate. The law is only bothered when these covers obscure the plate to the naked eye – and doing that will get you into real trouble! A good license plate blocker works as a kind of reflective strip that causes a flashback effect when a camera attempts to picture it. In most cases, they will only obscure about half of the plate – but that is plenty enough for those who do not like their motoring being recorded as they go about their business.
2) Consider Pre-Pay Credit Cards
Nearly half of global credit card fraud takes place in the USA and costs merchants about $200bn per year. While consumers usually insure against the costs and amounts stolen it can still cause a massive hassle. Sure, you can get by without using a credit card, but they are useful to have especially when making online purchases (which is where a large proportion of details are stolen).
Prepay credit cards are not glamorous, but they offer a fantastic way of ensuring that you only spend what you have. Simply load them up with the amount you wish to spend directly from your bank account and you’re set. Should your details be lost, pre-pay cards are free to replace unlike those provided by most merchant banks.
3) Protect Your Email
Many people love the convenience offered by the free online email account providers. The problem is that even your email account is valuable to scammers, spammers and maybe even hackers. After all, you have already furnished them with half of the information needed to gain access to your inbox. Figuring out or cracking the password is quite easy with the right tools.
Should this concern you look into using either masking apps that offer alias accounts for casual sign-ups to mailing lists or perhaps even better still use a mixture of accounts that forward communications to your primary (and very rarely disclosed) email address. Such additional layers of security take five minutes to set up and can save you from an awful lot of problems.
4) Store Credit Card Information Securely
Most of the time it is safe enough to store your billing details with online retailers. But – as is the nature of online crime – it is almost inevitable that sooner or later one will be compromised in a big way.
Saving your credit card details into a notepad file secured behind a password-protected folder is better than trusting your details to even the biggest online stores. Just copy and paste the card number/expiry date and billing details when you need to. For just a little extra seconds effort it is a heck of a lot more secure.
5) Mute & Disable
People are less prone to chuckle today when you place a strip of tape over your laptop camera. There are countless examples of people being surreptitiously watched via hacked cameras (and these are notoriously vulnerable). The same goes for muting your device microphones.
You may also be wise to contact your service providers and tell them that under no circumstances are they allowing any resets to your accounts without password authentication. Many fraudsters can manipulate call center workers with only a small amount of information at hand. It happens thousands of times a year and quite frankly you would be more secure writing down your password on a scrap of paper than allowing any access without it.
All of these solutions take next to no time whatsoever and will considerably enhance your overall data security. Given how valuable your personal information is to potential fraudsters – and the massive problems that falling victim to ID theft can cause – it is a small price to pay for extra peace of mind. Understand that if online crooks are universally one thing it is that they are inherently lazy. Unless you are sitting on a pot of gold they will look at other targets who do not take such simple yet effective precautions.