AP NEWS

Time for digital spring cleaning, shredding

April 15, 2019

Courtesy of the Better Business Bureau

Better Business Bureau serving Canton Region and Greater West Virginia offers tips and advice for consumers to avoid fraudulent practices.

With spring in full swing, there is a good chance that your weekend plans may include scrubbing, sweeping and sprucing up your home for the season.

While clearing clutter is an annual ritual for many households, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) have teamed up to remind consumers to clear digital clutter and to freshen up their online lives. By conducting a digital spring cleaning and focusing on personal data protection, you will be safer and more secure against losing personal information and becoming a victim of identity theft.

A good rule of thumb is to consistently keep a keen eye on all sensitive accounts like online banking, your credit cards and credit report.

- Keep a clean machine. Ensure all software on internet-connected devices - including PCs, smartphones and tablets - is up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware. Most of us have apps we no longer use and some that need updating. Delete unused apps and keep others current, including the operating system on your mobile device. An added benefit of deleting unused apps is more storage space and longer battery life.

- Protect personal data. Your usernames and passwords are not enough for the personal data protection of email, banking and social media. Enhance your online accounts and enable the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device.

- Clean up your online reputation. Review the privacy and security settings on websites you use to be sure that they remain set to your comfort level for sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

- Do a digital file purge. Perform a good, thorough review of your online files. Tend to your digital records, PCs and phones and any device with storage just as you do for paper files. Start removing digital clutter by doing the following:

- Clean up your email: Save only those emails you really need, and unsubscribe to email you no longer need/want to receive.

- Back it up: Copy important data to a secure cloud site or another computer or drive where it can be safely stored. Password protect backup drives. Make sure to back up your files before getting rid of a device, too.

FOR BBB INFORMATION: Visit bbb.org/canton or call 330-454-9401 to look up a business, file a complaint, write a customer review, report a scam with Scamtracker, read tips and more!

Bbb shred & e-cycle events:

Your BBB is holding two free community events for consumers and businesses to safely dispose of personal documents and unwanted electronics.

When: Saturday, May 4, from 9 a.m.1 p.m.

Where: Lowe’s parking lot, Shoppes at Trace Fork, 50 RHL Blvd. South Charleston, WV 25309

When: Saturday, May 18, from 9 a.m.1 p.m.

Where: Marshall University parking lot, Corner of 3rd Avenue and 16th Street, Huntington, WV 25702

More info: bit.ly/2019shredevent or 330-454-9401