Fraudsters are after your personal information including – full name, address and contact details, bank account numbers, logins and passwords for websites and Identification numbers such as passport details and driving licence.
Once they obtain your full name and other personal details, they can search official records, social media etc to piece together a fuller picture about you, with the intention of scamming you or even identity theft.
How To Stay Safe
- Use multiple email addresses [link]
- Use disposable email addresses (https://fightback.ninja/disposable-email-addresses/)
- Use temporary email addresses [link]
- Use the magic phone number if you don’t want to be contacted by phone, but a website insists you provide one [https://fightback.ninja/a-magic-phone-number-and-call-blocking]
- Stop tracking cookies
- Opt out whenever possible of Marketing emails etc.
- Withhold data when you can or make something up if it is unimportant
Removing your personal information from the internet
There is a trade-off between having some information on the Internet about you so that prospective employers, old friends and others can find you and the problem of there being so much that criminals can use that information to con and steal from you. Also, it’s virtually impossible to remove all traces of your Internet activity.
- Restrict or Delete Social Media Accounts
Scammers seeking your information may start with your social media posts so make sure not to post anything personal or mention holiday dates etc. Simply deleting such accounts is safer.
- Close down Blogs and Blog Posts
Close or delete any blogs posts or the whole blog if it gives away personal information on you.
Personal blogs may contain intimate details about your daily life, family, jobs, health information and financial situation — which is information a fraudster could use to scam you or access your accounts. If you publish a blog, be mindful of the details you’re sharing.
- Websites, Chat Groups etc. With Your Information
If someone else has posted sensitive information about you on their website or blog, then you can contact the webmaster of the site and ask them to remove the information.
If a website refuses to remove your info, then you can send a legal request to Google and ask to have it removed.
- Phone APPS
Many APPS on your smartphone and tablet collect personal details such as your name, email address, spending habits, and geographical location. This information could be accessed by cybercriminals, leaked or stolen, and if it ends up in the hands of scammer, your finances could be at risk.
- Block Tracking Software
While browsing the web, you’ve probably noticed disclaimers about “cookies,” which is technology that tracks your web browsing habits. If you don’t want that information tracked and stored, then consider running security software that contains features to block online tracking. You should also understand the limitations of your browser and any do-not-track feature.
- Clean out your computer data
There’s a trove of personal information stored on your browser history, including the websites you visit (including financial institutions), passwords, and cached images and files. If a cybercriminal gains access to your device, they may be able to use that information. Regularly clear your browser history, delete cookies and install and use security software that includes online privacy features.
If you do all of the above then you will remove most of the data that anyone can find about you on the open Internet. There will always be data on government systems, retailers you buy from etc. but that is harder for any criminals to access.
If you have any experiences with these scams do let me know, by email.