When you get some well-intended warnings, I say pay attention. And that brings me to this rather odd segue.
I was reading a magazine, and came across an article titled Clean Up Your Digital Trail. I almost flipped the page, but stopped when I read this: "You've probably accumulated a lengthy list of online accounts for everything from e-mail and social media sites to online search activities, purchasing history, and blogging platforms. Even if you stopped using the accounts ages ago, your digital footprints are still sitting there, a potential treasure trove of information for identity thieves."
When I'm writing, I do a lot of online searches. And I've been known to buy a few things from that big box store in the sky, like books. Also I shake in my buskins when I read "identity thieves," so I had to read on. I wanted to know the full extent of my digital vulnerability, and I wanted to know how to lessen it.
Here are some tips the article served up on sweeping those footprints away:
- Delete or deactivate shopping & social network accounts you no longer use. Go to account settings, option to deactivate, remove or close.
- Use incognito mode when you search from now on. Duck Duck Go is one incognito browser that I use.
- Get a VPN (Virtual Private Network) It creates a secure connection between your devices and the scary internet world.
- Deactivate old email accounts
- Check your privacy settings on frequently visited websites, especial social media sites.
- If you're in the EU, use the right to be forgotten option.
- Don’t click on nutty surveys. These are called "clickbait," as the article said, you give up a lot more than you get in return.
I hope this bit of spring cleaning wards off the evil identity thieves (shudder). After all, writers have enough to be insecure about. There are probably more things a writer can do to protect himself, so if you have some suggestions let us know in the comments.
Oh, and BTW, the Ides of March really is a good day. We might even have the first full moon of March. People used to celebrate when that happened. We should reinstate that tradition.