In light of the recent Facebook privacy crisis, protecting your personal information online is more difficult than previously thought. Worried about what information anyone can see about you from a simple Google or Facebook search? Here are five ways to protect your privacy online without having to go completely off the grid.

Mindfully Protect Your Personal Information

Think of the difference between purchasing something in a brick-and-mortar store versus buying an item online. If the cashier asks for your phone number or email, you’re definitely not as likely to give it to them. However, if it’s part of a computer form, you likely will hand it over because it’s “a step in the process.”

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If personal information is not required for a purchase or other service, don’t freely provide it. Personal data like your purchases, birthday date, email, reviews, credit scores, job applications, home addresses, and other information are constantly collected by data brokers. Protect your privacy by mindfully keeping personal information to yourself. Setting up a disposable email or phone number can decrease the likelihood of someone stealing your identity or sensitive information.

Double-Check Your Privacy Settings

Facebook is one of the worst offenders when it comes to privacy settings. Never give them your personal email, phone number, or email address. This makes it easier for them to track your activity online and offline. It can often be more difficult to clean up your Facebook profile than seeking removal from Whitepages.

Update your privacy settings on social media to increase security and decrease the public access to your information, opinions, or the private information of family and friends. Make your profile viewable to friends only. Turn on tag review and profile post review. If you let your Friends of Friends see your posts and other information, that allows up to 150,000 people to freely access your profile.

Lastly, don’t overshare, and be vigilant about only friending people who you know to be real and have relationships with outside of social media.

Set Up a Disposable Email

Creating a disposable email makes it easier to ensure you know what information is tracked back to you online. Use a desktop extension, like Blur by Abine, to consistently use a masked email to protect your information when completing purchases or signing up for things.

Any emails sent to the masked email will be forwarded to your personal email without any tracking from the sender. This is a simple way to increase your privacy online and make it harder for data brokers or other people to find personal information.

Delete Old Accounts

When was the last time you logged onto your old Myspace account? Take some time to go through old social media or other accounts and delete them if you no longer use them. They might be a source of information for data brokers and other searchers to gain information about you without your consent.

A quick Google search will often turn up Spotify accounts, websites, social media, and academic records. If there’s something out there that isn’t true or you don’t want other people to see, be vigilant about taking steps to remove personal information from Google.

Speak Up

If you’re frustrated about how difficult it is to maintain your privacy online, you are not alone. It’s important to speak up about online privacy to keep that right protected. Organizations like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union actively support online privacy measures and always need financial and social supporters. Sign a petition, talk to your friends, and be intentional about keeping your information private.

Your personal information should remain just that – personal. Follow these steps to keep your digital footprint to a minimum and protect your data. DeleteMe by Abine protects your personal information for you by removing it from the source, like Whitepages and Google. They diligently remove your personal information from public sources every four months, with DeleteMe experts available to individually address your concerns and needs related to your privacy.

The consequences of doing nothing can be detrimental, from losing a job offer to having your identity stolen. Take back your information and your privacy by intentionally protecting your identity.

About DeleteMe

DeleteMe by Abine empowers average people to control how their personal information is accessed and shared online. By removing details like names, addresses and phone numbers from websites like PeopleFinders, Spokeo and DexKnows, this subscription service helps clients remove personal information from Google.

For more information, visit Joindeleteme.com