It’s hard to stay private these days. Anyone can just search the internet to learn more you. If you don’t put the settings of your social media accounts to private, then your electronic identity is open for everybody to see.
You should take care of your electronic identity. Even if it seems enviable, you should do your best to manage it. Don’t post everything online. Anyone can just use your perfect selfies to commit identity theft. So, while you’re bragging about your perfect life online, sensitive details of your identity might already be floating around the dark web. For all you know, you’ve already commited a crime that you aren’t even aware of. Your personal information can easily end up in the wrong hands.
Keeping your private information from falling into the wrong hands is a big challenge.
If you don’t believe your identity could be compromised, you’re doomed. It’s very easy to steal and to smear electronic identities, yours included. Identity theft is rampant.
The Federal Trade Commission says the Sunshine State has the second highest rate of identity theft per capita. Last year alone, Floridians lost 84 million dollars to hackers. ABC7’s Jacqueline Matter found you may be putting your identity at risk without even realizing it.
Your electronic identity is not just available online. It’s also available in various hardware devices such as your external hard drives and smart phone. So, even if you spend some time shredding documents that contain sensitive information about yourself, you could still get in trouble if you don’t clean out your damaged hard drives or smartphone.
Most people know it’s a good idea to shred documents with personal information on them such as tax records, W-2s and other items with sensitive information, but what about those devices that don’t shred like hard drives, thumb drives and mobile devices?
And fraudsters are targeting your electronics too, according to Nathan Bailey, the Chief Operating Officer at SouthTech IT Services in Sarasota.
It’s a lot easier to get hold of used electronics devices, especially the ones that are all set for the junk yard. Who really takes the time to clean out an old electronic device before throwing it out? Do you? So, instead of rummaging through mails, thieves go for electronic devices.
“People used to go through the mail and pull out the credit card applications and stuff like that. They don’t really do that anymore a lot of it they get electronically,” Bailey explains.
Flash drives, hard drives, old computers and phones contain just as much sensitive information as confidential documents.
“Protecting your personal identity is critical and you want to take the steps before you destroy your computers, turn it in and make sure that it’s not going to fall into the wrong hands,” Bailey says.
As it is, your digital footprint can easily be tracked down online. Don’t make it any easier by making your electronic identity available in your ready-to-discard hard drives.
There are some common misconceptions when it comes to properly cleaning your digital footprint.
“Well one, they may just try to throw it away and hope nobody finds it, but if they ever did, they’re going to pull everything off. The other thing people often do is delete files. They are like, ‘Oh I deleted everything I should be good,’ but really the data is still there.”
So how do you protect yourself?
If you’re getting rid of old electronics reset the device or get it back to factory settings, wipe it out completely and either destroy and smash the hard drive or if you’ve got a drill handy drill right through it.
There are reputable companies that recycle the hazardous metals inside, but you should always ask for a receipt that your electronics were properly disposed of.
Taking these steps can help you avoid the time consuming task of getting your identity back if it falls into the wrong hands.
It’s safe to say that you should really keep an eye on your electronic identity. You don’t just do that by managing your online presence. You should also be careful with devices that store your personal information. Even if they’re not yet bound for the junk yard, they might be up for repair.That is why it is also important to choose a reputable company that can repair devices like your external hard drives.
The Hard Drive Recovery Group is a reputable company that guarantees secure data recovery. Your failed hard disk drive is serviced in a class 100 clean room so that nothing ends up in the wrong hands, keeping your electronic identity safe.