A very good question these days. I continue to have all my information stolen at various data breaches, including Desjardins, Equifax and recently Capital One. To keep me safe I follow a simple set of rules to at least impede the had folk out there:
- Change Passwords often
- Run Antivirus and Malware protection programs
- Stay away from nasty web sites, that may simply be Phishing front ends
The other way your personal data ends up out there is by companies selling your data to other companies (for-profit and fun). Every time you give out your email address or fill in your “customer profile” you are giving someone a chance to profit from that information. Everyone is selling you, how can you slow this down?
Our friend Preet Banerjee put out a set of useful tweets to figure out who is selling you data:
- Gmail ignores anything after a ‘+’ sign in an email address. If your email address is email@example.com, sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org still goes to email@example.com
- So if you are required to give an email address, and company XYZ asks for it, give them firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you ever get spam addressed to email@example.com, you know it was XYZ company that gave up / sold your info.
- This works because you still get email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org to your email@example.com.
- You can create an unlimited number of email addresses using this technique. So you can replace “+xyz” with “+anycompanynameyouwant” in that email address you provide them.
Actual Personal Data Tweet
I believe I owe Preet a scotch for this one. Remember he is available as an excellent public speaker too!