What Is Digital Footprint?
A digital footprint is an online record of a person such as what they search on the Internet. We increase our digital footprint to help others build our image every time we are online.
Step By Step Guide To Clean Up Your Digital Footprint
Step 1: Google Yourself
The first step to cleaning up your digital footprint is to search for your name. You put yourself in the shoes of other people who may be searching for you on the Internet when you search for your name on Google. This step will give you a clear idea of what your name is associated with and if you become a target what cybercriminals can use against you.
If you search yourself, you may also find information such as public data about you. Having information such as your phone number and home address online can pose a huge security risk. If you notice that your information is public, please contact the site where your information appeared and request that your information be removed. An analysis of Bitdefender’s Digital Identity Protection data revealed that 57% of the community has more than 12 data entry points exposed online, while an alarming 16% has more than 50 instances of personal information available in the digital world.
As a precaution, you can set up a Google alert if you don’t have one. By default, you will receive an email notification when your name appears online on a website, newspaper, or blog.
Step 2: Delete Unused Accounts
The first step to reducing your online presence is to delete all old and unused accounts. Deleting them can prevent others from seeing old social media posts that you don’t want to see anymore, and the fewer accounts you have, the less data you get about yourself. There is no denying the influence social media has around the world. However, increased privacy awareness is making people reconsider their use of social media. Back up your data first if you are considering deleting your account. Deletion procedures vary from site to site but keep in mind the grace period you need to follow before permanently deleting your account.
It is also important to delete old forums, purchases, online storage, and email accounts. Keep in mind that you’re more likely to experience damage or data breaches if you don’t have enough online accounts to worry about. As per Statista, in 2022 the United States saw 1,802 data breaches.
If for some reason you cannot delete the old account, change the data such as name, address, and phone number randomly so that it is no longer associated with you when someone searches for your name.
Step 3: Be Cautious on Social Media
It’s tempting to share everything online, but if you share too much on social media, you risk having your data used against you. It can also jeopardize your reputation. Always think before posting something that cannot be used against you. You may want to consider going through your social media accounts and deleting or deleting posts that may be harming you. To keep your digital footprint clean, be careful about what you share.
A senior data researcher for the FTC, Emma Fletcher stated
“Scammers can tailor their approach to what you share on social media and target you based on personal information like your age, interests, or previous purchases. All of this costs them almost nothing to reach billions of people from all over the world.”
Step 4: Adjust Privacy Settings
Manage your Google search results. Now is the time to decide how easily you want people to find your information. Make sure the security and privacy settings in your profile are up to date if you want to stay private. By adjusting your privacy settings to what you deem appropriate you can limit the amount of personal information that your device, application, and browser can access and share. According to a Viasat survey, 50% of social media users have made their profiles private.
Check your privacy settings to ensure they meet your needs. This may include making your social media accounts private, sharing your location with certain apps or browsers, and more. According to Grand View Research, by turning on location on our mobile phones we are giving access to our data, and in 2022 mobile location data is a more than $16 billion industry.
Step 5: Use a Password Manager
We often use a password that includes popular options, such as your name, your partner’s name, or your children’s names. Stop doing it! The next step is to choose a security question wisely when creating a password.
Password Manager is an online security tool that lets you track your login credentials and keep them private and encrypted. A password manager can help you keep your digital footprint clean because you’ll always know which new accounts you’re signing into since they’re stored in your vault. This makes it easier to keep track of accounts you no longer use, so you can take steps to delete or deactivate them. Plus, the password manager also generates strong passwords for each of your new accounts.
The Benefits of Having a Clean Digital Footprint
There are many benefits to cleaning up your digital footprint, including the following.
Protects your Reputation
We never realized the impact a digital footprint could have on our lives. Having a clean digital footprint protects your reputation from damage because it prevents someone from finding false information about you or information that could cause negative results.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
When we leave a digital footprint, sensitive data such as addresses, phone numbers, and answers to security questions can be taken because they are used on social media. All of this information can lead to digital identity theft. Here are some warning signs of digital identity theft to look out for:
- Get notified that one of your accounts is part of a data breach
- Being billed for services you don’t know about
- Having unusual transactions in your bank account
Streamlined KYC Verification:
A clean digital footprint reduces the complexity of KYC verification. By having a smaller online network, the verification process is faster and more efficient, allowing the company to verify the customer’s identity more quickly.
Faster Onboarding Processes:
It accelerates new customer onboarding. Businesses can quickly verify customer identities and reduce the time it takes for customers to start using a product or service by cleaning up their digital footprint.
In short, there are ways to surf the web anonymously, but as long as you’re not doing anything wrong, it doesn’t matter. Protecting your data can prevent you from becoming a victim of hackers, but trying to reduce your digital footprint is a smart move. A clean digital footprint checker not only improves the efficiency of the KYC process but also ensures greater security, accuracy, and customer trust, which is important in today’s standards. KYC AML guide can provide expert consultancy in solving your problems of identity verification by offering KYC technology buying services.