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Productivity Consultant at Organize For Success, LLC...
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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Top Ten Practical Privacy Practices

Organize for Success® Turns 10
In honor of 10 years of business for Organize for Success®, I will be posting a "top 10" list to this blog each day through Wednesday, May 31st. Each Sunday, my team will randomly select from those who commented on the prior week's "top 10" blog posts for a gift card giveaway and free download of one eBook from The grand prize package for celebrating Organize for Success, LLC's 10 years in business will be awarded on Thursday, June 1st, randomly selecting from all those who commented on any of the month's "top 10" blog posts as well as those who have subscribed to my eNewsletter for a winner to receive downloads of all 5 eBooks, a pass for my Stress and Time Management online video course as well as a 60-minute productivity consultation via video conference.

As this is Choose Privacy Week, let's cover my top ten practical privacy practices:

10. Use two-factor authentication. Since many social media platforms and online tools link your accounts on them to your email account, I particularly recommend activating two-step verification within whichever email you have. When attempting to log into whatever account has two-step verification activated, you'll be texted a code that must be entered; this gives an extra layer of security to protect your account information and alerts you when someone else tries to login as you.

9. Choose private browsing when surfing the Internet. Even if you use Chrome's Incognito Mode, Internet service providers, system administrators for your network and the browser companies can still peek into your browsing activities. Therefore, I recommend browsing in private with Tor (The Onion Router) or using DuckDuckGo. Tor adds layers to better protect your privacy while DuckDuckGo is a search engine that doesn't track you at all.

8. Don't over-share on social media. Try not to announce when you are traveling. Limit what personal details you share that can be tracked back to the answers you'd give for security questions.

7. Protect your information. Be careful with whom you share passwords, your social security number, your birthdate, credit card numbers and any identifying data. Further, never send anyone your social security number or credit card information via email.

6. Conduct online shopping wisely. Make sure online purchases are made through a secure website, including https or a little lock in the line where the web address or URL appears.

5. Be consistent in where you keep your passwords. You can handwrite them in a book, have them printed out from a spreadsheet or enter them in an online password manager; however, please do not rely on your memory nor leave them written on sticky notes attached to your computer screen. My clients have had great success with Dashlane, Roboform, SplashID, Sticky Password and 1Password, but utilize the option with which you feel most comfortable. If you take the online password manager option, feel free to use your email to pull any existing passwords associated with that email and, then, move at whatever pace you prefer in uploading your remaining passwords.

4. Be password smart. Don't use the same password for everything. Create strong passwords; some sources encourage using a sentence as an effective password, but, regardless, make sure you include uppercase and lowercase letters, spacing, punctuation and symbols whenever possible. Change each of your passwords on a regular basis.

3. Protect your device. Connect to an automated, cloud-based back-up. Have anti-virus and firewall software installed. Make sure your security software, web browser and operating system are the most up-to-date possible. When connected to the Internet, consider encrypting your information, particularly when you are working on public WiFi, or avoid public WiFi entirely.

2. Monitor your accounts. I get a text daily of my bank account balance as well as emails for any transactions over a set amount. Plus, when there appear to be questionable charges, my bank is monitoring and will call to alert me immediately.

1. Know how your credit scores. You are entitled to order a free copy of your credit report from each of the major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) once every 12 months so split those up and rotate your request every 4 months, like Equifax in January, Experian in May and TransUnion in September). Plus, you can view two of your credit scores for free every month on Things related to your credit can change quickly; therefore, it is a good idea to regularly stay abreast of what's up.

What steps do you take to protect your privacy? Are there any on this list that you will or should implement? 

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