Be Aware of What Data You Expose

copierMany in the American public are unaware of the personally identifiable information they leave behind when conducting seemingly mundane activities.

A recent study shows that most taxpayers are painfully unaware that when they make a photocopy on a digital photo copier the machine makes an image and stores it on its hard drive.  Information being photocopied can be utilized by hackers for identity theft purposes.  The same threat can also be true for faxes that are sent on a digital fax machine.

Where are other places you might be putting your personal information out there for strangers to see without realizing it?

At Work:

Do you use online banking or other services at work?  Unless you’re constantly checking to see if you’re using a secure (SSL) connection, you might be exposing personal data to whomever might be on your work’s network.

At the Coffee Shop:

Wherever you’re on an unsecured wireless network, it’s possible that someone is peering into your online traffic.  For help to make lessen this threat, read our previous coverage.

At Your Favorite Restaurant:

What does your server do with your credit card slip when he/she is done with it?  At numerous restaurants, they leave them on a counter, unsecured.  With your credit card number and expiration date, an identity theif could rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars in illegitimate transactions before you even know it.

On Your New Favorite Web 2.0 Site:

Many new web services and websites are prompting you to enter in your Hotmail, Yahoo, or Gmail login information.  They want you to do this so they can scrub your contact list and see if anyone you know is already on the service and allow you to invite your existing friends to the service.

Be careful with your login and password.  Know whom you’re giving your information to because if you have valuable information on your email, you are giving this web site/service the keys to your kingdom.

(photo credit: Flickr User Andrew*)