Social media allows us all to connect with our friends and make new friends from the comfort of our home, while traveling, while working and while entertaining. Within 24 hours of joining Facebook, I connected with at least two dozen friends from high school whom I hadn’t seen in 30+ years. The problem I faced when I first logged in was setting up my profile. On one hand I wanted good people to find me and on the other hand I didn’t want bad people to find me. I chose to divulge only the basic information about myself on the internet and did not upload any photos. The photos that are on my Facebook site were put there by other people.
However, I see people revealing their entire life histories online and providing personal information about all of their family members. They also like to tell the world where they are and what they are doing. To me, this is like giving someone the keys to your home and can be very dangerous. As always, I caution everyone to consider the possible usage by identity thieves of any information you disclose online.
I have seen the private information disclosed online used by skip tracers, divorce lawyers, collection agencies, advertisers, and stalkers, just to name a few. I have also seen embarrassing information used to humiliate people.
So the question becomes, “Can I do anything to erase my digital footprint on the internet?” The answer to this question is a qualified, “Yes!” You might as well face the fact that you cannot take disclosed information and remove it from the internet. However, you can take actions to minimize the access to this information from the social media sites.
If you have ever tried to deactivate or remove your social media accounts, you have found that it can be done, but it can also be a difficult and frustrating process. To begin with, the social media sites do not make it easy to find the urls to deactivate or remove your account. But there is good news. There is a free site that has brought together in one location all of the url links to most of the social media sites where you may have posted your information. Visit justdelete.me to check it out. This site compiles the social media site url links into one location and tells you by color coding whether it is easy (green), medium (yellow), hard (red) or impossible (black) to deactivate or remove your account. It would serve you well to note the ones in black and either stay away from them to begin with or provide them information with caution.
I encourage everyone to take the time to deactivate or remove all social media accounts you are not currently using and to restrict the amount of information you disclose on any of these sites. Although you cannot remove information completely from the internet, you will be surprised at how much you can slow it down by deactivating and removing your unused social media sites. Delete your digital footprint as much as you can. It will reduce your risk of identity theft and the use of your personal information against you.
To learn more about protecting your identity from theft online Click Here.