How-to Manage Your Digital Footprint
This post was sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are my own.
Ahhh, sweet sweet summer is finally here. Pack your bikinis and floppy hats because that means it’s time for all the cliché photos of my pedicured feet near a pool and on the white sands of the beach. Look out for the constant check-ins and photo updates on Instagram when I’m out of town for vacation. The pre-departure Tweet sipping on Sangrias at the airport.
Let’s be honest, we’re all putting our best face forward snapping all the Instagramable shots, but we’re not protecting our online identities while we do this.
Besides the obvious temptation to constantly chronicle and record our lives, when it comes to posting vacation photos on social media, there are things to be aware of when it comes to over-posting. Now, I’m not talking about the risk of boring the heck out of your friends, but the possibility of leaving your online data vulnerable to theft.
It’s automatic to be vigilant with your belongings when on holiday, but what about your online belongings? Like your information and identity?
Here’s a stat: According to the Allstate Digital Safety Survey 95% of Americans believe that digital safety is as crucial as protecting physical assets, such as cars or home. This is especially true when traveling because there are so many more opportunities for online theft. Think about it. Imagine, you’re running to catch the 12 o'clock flight and then when you land, you realize someone used your credit card information to buy a truck in Idaho.
It’s important to be prepared by understanding how to secure your digital footprint. And like I said, I have even been guilty of this. Here are five steps to help manage your digital footprint, so you can focus on satisfying your wanderlust this summer.
Before you go, social sharing
Your besties and grandmother who just learned how to use Instagram loves the pictures of you about to board a plan, but just keep in mind that your personal data is also attached anytime you click “post.” It’s like announcing that your apartment is empty and ready to be burglarized.
Privacy settings on social media websites make it easy to control who you share your information with, so make sure to review yours.
I myself travel often for work (and post about it for work), but as a pro tip, I usually wait until the end of the trip to post. It’s smart to post a few days after your trip and not let people who are following know exactly when you’re out of town. But if you’re compelled to share every perfect snap of your trip in real-time, make sure you’ve got your social media privacy settings on lockdown so make sure to review yours.
On your vacation, thieves are still working and posting a pic from that tropical beach 2,000 miles away is like telling the world you’re not home. Each photo you take has hidden metadata that could reveal your location even if you don’t physically tag a location.
So what if you check into that trendy bar next to your house so your ex can see you were there, but posting a location also means letting people know where you are (and where you are not).
Check your location services in your phones settings to control how much information is being shared with each app and be sure to only share your location with those you trust.
The internet is an amazing place for us shopaholics and we all have things to buy before a big vacation, but that does not mean they should have our credit card information on file after we're done shopping.
To maintain privacy on shopping sites you only use once, purchase as a guest and do not all the website to link your email or your social accounts.
If an email, text or social post seems fishy, it’s probably fishy. Chances are you didn’t win a free cruise this summer. Bummer, I know.
Our spam folders are our besties, but hey, even they slip up at times. Opening emails from foreign sender can have dire consequences but spotting the signs of span can save your from distress.
Be aware of urgent emails and emails asking for money, passwords or your social security number. Other phishing red flags include, multiple typos, low quality images, peculiar formatting and an email address that tried to emulate a trusted site but is not actually associated.
Sure, some countries have free Wi-Fi nearly everywhere for only the seemingly small price of your social media log-in. But is it safe?
No Wi-Fi and I am in big trouble. So you just go to a coffee shop right? Wrong.
Here’s a stat: According to the Allstate Digital Safety Survey Half of Americans (51%) would rather spend the day without their phone than have their personal information compromised online, and 41% would rather show an embarrassing childhood photo to coworkers.
Surfing the internet is important, but protecting your information is even more important. Cyber criminals target people who connect to public Wi-Fi networks, and can access private data without us even realizing.
Practice good internet hygiene and protect your data by using a password manager for your profiles and encrypt any files you share when in public spaces. Also, avoid working on sensitive data when you’re using unsecured, public Wi-Fi. Instead, check the news or read your favorite blogs, but it’s probably not the best time to do your online banking.
So there you have it, tips and tricks to help you make sure your digital footprint is heading in the right direction. To find out more, Allstate has compiled a list of helpful tips (https://hiddenworldofdata.allstate.com) to stay safe while on the go this summer season. The company has been protecting the things and people I love for decades, from husband's car insurance to our renters insurance, and Allstate is now protecting my life online.
Visit for more information and let me know what you’re doing to keep yourself safe in the comments below.
This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.