Cyber Spring Cleaning Can Protect Your Identity | NBC4 Washington
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Cyber Spring Cleaning Can Protect Your Identity

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cyberclutter is something we all have, whether we realize it or not. There is word that a messy computer or smartphone could put us at risk for identity theft, too. Consumer reporter Susan Hogan reports.

    (Published Monday, May 15, 2017)

    Cyberclutter on a messy computer or smartphone could put you at risk for identity theft, so consider them when you do your spring cleaning.

    Chances are you have several apps on your smartphone you never use. Extra apps on your phone use data even by just sitting there. They take up storage space you can use to save more photos.

    While security is strong on many apps, each one is just another connection between your phone and the outside world -- another opportunity for some sort of information about yourself to be shared, which could ultimately lead to identity theft. Newer apps have better security which protects your private information, so that app you loved five years ago may not be the most secure option anymore.

    "So much software has two-step identification, not just the one step,” said Bob Brackeen of the Better Business Bureau. “Get two step, it adds one more layer of security that just might slow you down."

    If you delete an app and then decide you really need it, it's easy to get back.

    Don't forget to cyberclean your computer, too.

    And be careful what you leave around. A thumb drive could easy fall into the wrong hands.