Are you concerned about trusting businesses with personal information in light of publicized hacks?
Here is what I would recommend:
– Only give the information that is mandatory. (Any optional field in various online forms should be left blank). The idea is that the more information someone has about you, the greater the risk of identity theft.
– Never use the same password across online services (i.e. Facebook, Gmail, PayPal, etc.) If one account gets compromised, at least the other ones can be safe if they have different passwords.
– If you no longer use an online service, make sure to deactivate your account rather than let it dormant. A dormant account still contains all your information and can be used against you.
– Make a list of all online services you are using. That way, if something did happen you are more prepared to verify the integrity of all your accounts, without forgetting any.
– Separate your bank accounts. If you are making regular purchases online, use a credit card with a low limit and that has no ties attached to your other accounts (in particular your savings account). If a site gets hacked and your credit card details were stolen, it is easier to contact Visa or Mastercard and cancel the card with very little damage done to your own finances.
– Identity theft is one of the biggest issues people face these days. Be smart about what information you publicly divulge and take time to do a search on what the Internet knows about you: you may be surprised! Deleting what is already there can be a hard if not impossible task. But if some information puts you at risk, it may be worth your while to bury it a little deeper.
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