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Privacy is getting rarer and rarer as technology slowly pervades every area of our lives. All you have to do is search for yourself online, and you will be surprised at the amount of information companies out there have about your income, address, family, phone number and so on.

The reason why this happens is because your personal information, such as your Social Security number, phone number, email address and a lot of other information is highly valuable to many companies. Many legitimate businesses need that information for their marketing practices. Meanwhile, there are also many criminals who would do anything to get their hands on that information. They want to use it to get to your money and other valuable assets so that they can steal them. Companies want to know as much as they can about you so that they can market more of their services and products to you and serve you highly targeted ads.

Not everyone wants their personal information floating around the internet. If you’re one of these people, here are a few tips from FastestVPNGuide.com to help you keep your personal information under wraps.

Don’t Put Too Much Information on Your Social Media Profiles

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The more of yourself you put online, the easier it is going to be for other people to get their hands on that information, no matter what their intentions are. Do not make it easier for them. That is the first thing you have to do. Visit your social media profiles and have a good look at the kind of information you have filled them with. You will probably be shocked at how much of yourself is out there for everyone to see. Take this opportunity to bring some barrenness to your social media profiles. The people out there who absolutely need to know your phone number, email address and birthdate probably have all that information anyway. You can also find other ways to get it to them. Don’t put it on your social media. Actually, if you think about it, there’s no point to sharing everything about yourself on social media. If you value your privacy, this is something you absolutely won’t do.

Don’t Give Your Social Security Number Digits to Just Anyone

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Your Social Security number is one of those things you should think twice about. You shouldn’t give it to just anyone. At the very most, only a credit bureau, bank and companies that you want to do business with or that wants to make a report to the IRS and has to do a background check on you. If someone gets their hands on your Social Security number, address and birthdate, they have just about everything necessary to steal your identity and take out credit cards and other forms of debt in your name.

You should be choosy, even with the last four digits of that number. These numbers are frequently used by banks and various other companies to allow you to reset your password. If someone got their hands on them, they might be able to infiltrate your accounts. Additionally, if someone has just the four digits and your birth date and address, getting the other numbers is simple. The first three digits of your Social Security number are determined by where your parents applied for your Social Security number. The second two digits are assigned based on your geographic area and the time when you applied. An identity thief with even some of that information and a whole lot of determination can get the other digits.

Don’t Neglect Your Hardware

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Your PC should always require a password when it boots up or when it wakes up from sleep. Even if you trust the people you live with, you can never compromise on your laptop because it could get stolen or lost.

The same applies to your mobile phones and tablets. They should require a passcode as well as have an app that helps you to locate them once you lose them or they get stolen. You should also be able to wipe it clean and lock it remotely to protect your data once it is stolen. The last thing you want a thieving stranger to have access to is your data.

Make sure you also load your smartphones and computers with antivirus software. These can do a lot to protect your phone or computer from having the data stolen. There are plenty of these for both your smartphone and your computer. All you have to do is a bit of diligent research.

Browse Privately

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If you don’t want anyone to see where you spend most of your time online, then you should browse privately. Private browsing is available with pretty much every major browser on the market. The setting deletes all cookies and temporary files on your computer as well as your browsing history the moment you close the browsing window.

Companies that advertise their products and services online want to know what kind of websites you visit. They want to know where you do your shopping and what you buy. They want to know who you connect with on social media, what your preferences are and so on. They can use all of that to gather important information about you and use it to serve you highly targeted ads that make it even more likely for you to buy their products.

Have you ever noticed buttons for Google+, Twitter and Facebook on sites you visit? Did you know that when you click on those buttons, the companies track you even if you aren’t logged in to them? That kind of stuff is scary! Sometimes, they will even embed codes in banner ads to track the sites you visit as well as collect your preferential and demographic information.

If you care about your privacy, do some private browsing. In fact, if you want it to be truly private so that not even your internet service provider knows where you’re hanging out online, you should get yourself a virtual private network.

Use Password Vaults to Generate All Your Passwords

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Most people are smart enough not to use the same password for all their online accounts. However, it isn’t easy to remember every single one of those passwords when you have so many online accounts and services that you are subscribed to. On the other hand, if you use the same password multiple times you put yourself at risk of getting all of your accounts infiltrated just by stealing a single password. Don’t make it that easy for the thieves.

To get rid of this problem, get yourself a password manager that remembers all of your passwords on your behalf. It will then generate super strong passwords and fill them into login fields on your behalf.

Two-factor Authentication is Your Friend

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The easiest way to lock down all of your online accounts, like Twitter, Microsoft, Apple ID, Dropbox, Google, Facebook and many others is to use two-factor authentication. This form of authentication requires you to enter a special code that gets sent to your phone in the form of a text. In fact, there are some online services that need you to do this every single time you try to log in.

Two-factor authentication is highly effective in preventing others from gaining access to your account. It might seem too time-consuming, but it’s worth it if you care about your privacy.

Use Cash to Pay for Things

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Business Insider points out that your information and data is being sold without your knowledge by credit card companies. They sell this information to advertisers who are able to target you with their ads. If you don’t want companies knowing what you buy and how much of it you buy, then use cash to buy things.

Keep Your Activity on Social Media Private

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Do you have any idea who can see your posts and activities on Facebook? By going to the Facebook settings, you can make sure that only your friends can see such things. You can do the same for Twitter, Google, Instagram and lots of other social media sites. You don’t want strangers on your wall seeing every little thing you do. They could use that information for things you wouldn’t like them to.

Guard Your Address When Making Purchases With Your Credit Card

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There are some stores that will ask for your ZIP code when you use a credit card to check out. You don’t have to give it to them. In fact, do not give it to them at all unless you want your details finding their way into the store’s database. They will take your name from your credit card and match it with your ZIP code. That makes it much easier for them to mine more information about you, including your email address, your phone number and other details about you.