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BBB: Spring cleaning should include digital devices

Posted: 10:04 AM, Apr 17, 2018
Updated: 2018-04-17 11:04:13-04

Each spring, many turn to the task of cleaning. And while that likely includes closets and kitchens, the Better Business Bureau says it should also include cleaning up your digital life.

This is becoming increasingly important, given how common data breaches have become. Keep in mind that it was just six months ago that the breach at Equifax affected nearly 148 million Americans, exposing highly personal information, like Social Security numbers. More recently, there have been several more high-profile data breaches against businesses like Under Armour and Best Buy.

Even though experts recommend keeping a keen eye on all sensitive accounts (like online banking, credit cards and your credit report), a recent survey by CreditCards.com indicates that half of Americans still have not checked their credit reports since the Equifax breach.

According to the BBB, keeping your digital life secure may include the following:

  • Keep a clean machine: Ensure all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – is up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware.
  • Lock down your login: Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Add extra layers of security like biometrics or a PIN. For example, a new scam, called porting, targets your smartphone by hijacking your phone number and using it to gain access your personal accounts. One way to prevent this would be to call your service provider and set up an authentication number. This way, no changes can be made your phone plan without first putting in that authentication number.
  • Own your online presence: Review the privacy and security settings on websites you use to be sure that they remain set to your comfort level for sharing. It is okay to limit how and with whom you share information.

This is especially important following the massive data sharing breach of Facebook by Cambridge Analytics, which affected around 87 million users.

Looking for more information on this topic? Head to www.BBB.org .

Remember, if you are a victim of a scam, report it to www.BBB.org/scamtracker .

Got a question for the BBB? Contact Regional Director Kelly Trevino at  ktrevino@corpuschristi.bbb.org .