How Long Do Your Posts Stay Online? A Look At What Forever Really Means

Life is funny. One day we’re hiding something from our parents. The next we’re trying to find what our kids are hiding from us. Soon after, we’re helping our grandkids sneak sweets and stay up too late. As we toggle from one side to the other, we see things from different perspectives. But our online reputation lasts forever. Here’s a look at what this means for you, your life and your privacy.

Teens and Online Reputations

We enter our teens needing permission to visit a friend. We exit in full control of our lives, able to leave the state or even the country without permission. This maturation process means we slowly leave our parent’s protective shield and start making our own decisions – and our own mistakes. Many teens today post their mistakes all over social media, without appreciation for what this means later in life. Teen’s reputations are based on the coolness factor, not what an employer, future spouse or eventually their kids might think.

Adulthood and Online Reputations

Before social media, the worst thing we had to worry about was Uncle Larry showing up with those pictures from camp freshman year. Parents who grew up on Facebook and Twitter have endless timelines that prove we did everything we’re trying to tell our kids not to. It’s not just parents who need to worry. Now that we’re adults, our bosses, people who could lend us a mortgage or car loan and the guys who evaluate our insurance claims have access to this information. Reputation CEO Fertik says there aren’t sufficient laws in the works to protect prying eyes from this information.

Senior Adulthood and Online Reputations

So, you’ve raised your kids and finished your career and your online reputation no longer matters, right? Not so fast. Now that you’ve accumulated wealth over a lifetime, you’re the target for online predators, such as scammers and identity thieves. If your accomplishments are featured in articles about you, you can believe con artists bet on you having a buck or two they can shave off. It might come in the form of an email scam, stealing your credit or blackmail.

In this digital age, forever truly means forever. The high school paper or the high school prank, the way you discipline your children and how much money you’ve banked in your IRA – it’s all online for the world to see. How can you protect yourself, your reputation and everything you’ve worked so hard to earn? Visit Reputation.com for valuable advice on safekeeping your forever.

What It Takes To Protect Your Identity in the 21st Century

One of the worst phone calls you can get from your bank is the one that tells you someone has your credit card. How can that be? It’s right there in your wallet. Welcome to the 21st Century and the criminals who live in it. Today’s thief is as tech savvy as any software engineer and he can – and will – employ any innovative means necessary to get your financial information. Here’s what it takes to protect your identity these days.
 
Pay attention to the cashier! Often, identity theft criminals are working at your local department store. Once you give your credit card to the cashier, never take your eyes off of it. Do not allow that individual to leave the register with your card.
Identity theft happens via online transactions. Update all of your passwords regularly. Make sure they include letters and numbers, and go for the longest password the system allows.
Shred all personal information. If you still receive bills and statements in the mail, make sure you shred them before you discard them. Thieves will happily go through your trash to get your personal information.
Go paperless with your bills. One less piece of personal information in your trashcan is good for your financial security.
Check your credit report often. You know your credit profile. Make sure it isn’t a surprise due to identity theft.
Purchase additional insurance that offers assistance with identity theft restoration. Whether your credit card gets stolen on vacation or at the local market, a little extra insurance can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
Avoid using your primary checking account when shopping online. Consider setting up a PayPal account or a separate revenue resource dedicated to online transactions. You can keep the minimum balance necessary to cover obligations in these accounts, and you can always transfer money to and from the alternate account if necessary.
Never give out credit card or personal information over the phone. There’s no way to know whether a phone salesman is legitimate. If you want to do business with a phone solicitor, ask them to send you information through the mail. Ask for website information or other references that you can trace for legitimacy.
Ignore warning emails from your bank. If you get an email from a bank stating that your password was changed or your credit card has been suspended, close the email and go directly to that bank’s website. If the email is legitimate, the same warning will be directly connected to your account. Never open links in emails with addresses you don’t recognize. 
 
Whatever you do to protect your identity and secure your finances, be aware that 21st Century thieves are always looking for new ways to fool you. Always approach electronic transactions with hyper awareness.

If any little red flag goes up for you, then it is perfectly OK to question the transaction or even contact your bank. How will you protect yourself in the 21st Century?

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