No matter who you are, you have an online reputation. Whether it be on your company’s biography pages, in your social media accounts, or listing your recent charitable gifts to your favorite charities, it’s prudent to be mindful when it comes to protecting your online persona and image on the internet. What are some things you can do and how might you best safeguard your profile online?
Defend Your NIL – Name, Image, and Likeness
We are not talking about the NCAA’s NIL athlete program, so let’s consider how the same three facets—name, image, and likeness—can change the trajectory of lives and careers.
Do you hold a high-profile professional job or a leadership position? Are there other facets of your life, like serving as a volunteer board member or a noteworthy donor to a charitable cause? All of these activities make you vulnerable to digital identity and fraud risks. Opportunities for suffering reputation damage are real, as personal data (be it real or fake) are published online.
This also encompasses any and all information uploaded by your family to their own personal websites or via social media profiles. It might not seem such an insidious thing at first, but even being caught in the background of someone else’s photos could be problematic, whether or not their intentions are pure.
Access to aspects of a person’s digital identity are used for valid business commerce, but also for illegal purposes. To make matters worse, with volumes of information published to the dark web, this allows users to remain anonymous. If this ever happens to you, the damage is done and the offenders are never caught.
Anyone with a high profile is a desirable connection, not only for the public, but for colleagues and competitors as well. A good strategy to remember is not to let your online connections become a problem. Let’s explore this idea further by discussing social media habits.
Social Media Habits
If you have any social media accounts (the average number is eight), make your profiles private. When you do so, you’ll be prompted to approve anyone who asks to connect with you. Keep any social media that belongs to your children private as well. It’s good to remember this key point: whatever data you share with the world can be used to impersonate you. Therefore, keep your topics limited to things that are non-personal.
Don’t list birthdays or identify your relations. Posting pictures from your grandson’s birthday party or your anniversary dinner on social platforms can easily be inferred. Identifying your family members is also something to avoid, as they might be targeted as well.
Try to keep your social media as private as you can and only limit your connections to those you trust. All it takes is one person to search for you on Pipl, and if you’re not diligent, they can get away with much more than a picture at a birthday party.
Is it People or Pipl?
Have you heard of Pipl.com? Pipl is a resource where, for a fee, subscribers gain access to your digital identity fragments, including email addresses, a mobile number, social media sites, and other publicly available data sources. Other details include data points such as birthdates, anniversaries, and home or vehicle information. Intended for legitimate business purposes, allowing companies to verify your identity or targeted marketing efforts, there remains threats that this and similar tools are used for nefarious purposes.
This is one of the many reasons why you should list as little as possible about yourself online.
If you’re not diligent about protecting your online persona, it can become costly, not only by having your online identity swiped, but by your financial assets being stolen or having your reputation dredged through the mud as well. Stay alert, protect more attributes of your life, and you’ll increase your protection level, both current and future cyberthreats.