Top 10 Best Ways to Protect Your Identity Online

When the internet first became popular, many counseled against shopping online because they believe it would lead to identify theft. While this was certainly true and remains true to this day, there are more ways for a person’s identity to be stolen online then simply providing credit card numbers to fraudulent sites. From time to time, there may be a security breach and hackers are able to get their hands on a list of credit card numbers, but cyber security has improved tremendously, making top consumer sites practically impenetrable. However, identity theft can still happen if a person isn’t careful. 1. Don’t use the same password on every site, especially for email. Nowadays, people use their email for everything. They receive bills and pay bills electronically and their email is the portal for everything. A person can’t sign up for anything without it leading back to their email. While email servers, such as Google and Yahoo, pay a ton of money to prevent hackers from being able to access email accounts, smaller sites do not. Smaller sites, such as forums, are easily hacked, and if individuals are using the same password on small sites as they are for the important sites, they can end up having their identity stolen. Once someone has access to an email account, they have access to everything. Think about it. How does someone request a new password if they’ve ‘forgotten’ it? It is sent to their email. 2. Read before agreeing. Often times, sites will have boxes that can be checked that prevent them from sharing personal information. Be sure to only fill out...

(Insert Your Name) is a SCAM!: How to Remove Online Defamation

How would you like it is there was a massive billboard in your city which allowed anyone with a grudge against you to anonymously post defamatory messages and get away with it 100% of the time? Believe it or not, such a billboard already exists in the form of sites such as pissedconsumer.com, ripoffreport.com, scambook.com, complaintsboard.com, and any online message board. Anyone, be it your competitor, a disgruntled employee, or customer with unrealistic expectations can write whatever they want on these sites. Because the aforementioned sites are powerful, these defamatory comments have a good chance of ranking for your name when you search for it. Let’s assume the worst and that sites such as pissedconsumer.com and ripoffreport.com are ranking for your name. Although your first instinct may be to send a cease and detest order, the website itself, is protected by the Communications Decency Act of 1996. Trying to sue the poster is possible. However, suing the author for libel may be a very long and expensive battle ending up nowhere, though one which should be considered if you have the resources. If you can prove that published libel caused you significant harm you can go ahead and sue the person. Assuming changing your personal or business name is not possible, what else can you do? Put out as much material online as possible, which features your name. The more of it you have, the less chance that sites such as pissedconsumer.com will show up for your name. This material can be in the form of articles, blogs, websites, social media profiles, and videos that have your name in...

Online Reputation Management Advice

Good news travels fast; bad news travels faster. Recent spurt in cases of rampant, and sometimes baseless, negative online publicity has affected brand image of many companies. In 2005, a single post by a blogger criticizing Dell’s support services pulled down the company’s reputation by a couple of notches. The corporate world is waking up to the necessity of playing an active role in online reputation management. Online Reputation Management involves not only analyzing all that is being written about your brand online but also repairing any damage found and constructing a positive image. A successful ORM campaign should involve public relations and search engine marketing. You have to ensure that good things are being said about you on various websites and these websites get top search engine rankings. How to monitor/track your online reputation Regular monitoring of online media will help you keep tabs on your public perception. It will also alert you in cases of copyright violations, competitor smear campaigns, domain squatting, etc. There are many online tools you can use to keep one step ahead and take immediate action. Google Alerts is the most popular monitoring tools that will track and inform you if your brand name comes up in news, feeds, videos, blogs and web results. There are blog-specific search tools like Technorati and Feedster. Twitter Search and Social Mention can also help you catch the buzz about you in social networking sites. How to repair your online reputation With the growth of user-generated media like blogs, Tweets and Yelps, the chances of creating negative publicity have also increased. The first step towards tackling negative...