It's clear from the rash of news articles in the last year about the database breaches into major corporations, that we can no longer trust anyone else to protect our information or our privacy.
Between the government's NSA collecting just about every data packet that crosses the internet, to the willful ignorance of millions of American's who think that Target/Mt. Gox/Snapchat/Yahoo!/Apple/Ubisoft's IT department is 100% secure against hacker attack; there's tremendous value in your personal information, and we're not protecting it as much as we should be!
Time to Clean House!
I've been using PayPal for years. I have a handful of digital conversion landing sites all pointing to PayPal checkouts, I buy and sell on eBay enough to almost require it. All in all, I don't mind the 2.75% they snag from every payment, although I'd like to get that percentage down too.
Still, I'd been alerted by another blog post (long since long to the ether) about a rarely-used sub-page of the PayPal site that kept a list of your vendors who had pre-authorized approval to debit your account. That means you told them they could take money from your PayPal account whenever they wanted to.
Ex-squeeze Me? Oh, hell no!
Quicker than lightning, I was logged into PayPal and digging through the maze of services and options available to customers. Sure enough in the top menu bar, click the Profile heading, and then in the drop-down menu, choose My Money.
Once you're on the My Money page, you'll see in the list My Preapproved Payments Click the Update Button to see who might be a problem.
There will be a list of vendors (possibly membership accounts or occasionally retail vendors) listed on the page. You'll probably remember most of the vendors, and be stunned at how far back some of these transactions go! My oldest one was 7 years old! Another vendor that had since gone out of business, yet they were still listed here! Still, there's no reason to give some old business associate (or the hacker that gets to them) free access to your funds.
I'd delete or inactivate just about every listing here. Let the vendor's re-bug you for approval again if it's a real dilemma - better to be safe than sorry, right?
Have You Every Been Hacked?
I've been personally alerted several times in the last year by huge corporations who have been hacked, and my customer data has been breached and copied. While they ramble on about how little information might have been released, I've succumbed to the fact that we're heading into a new world of public information, public profiles, and the never-forgetting internet.
Keeping things to yourself is no longer lauded, as public displays on your Facebook/Twitter/Social Media are voted and liked to popularity. It's a thrill to be famous, even for a small audience for a mere moment. Don't let the glitter of fame lull you to into revealing too much of your personal information. Don't forget: Even porn stars don't use their real name on the internet.
Just like the CEO of Lifelock, whose personal identity has been stolen dozens of times since he's publicly announced his social security number. While he uses it as a promotion for his own companies privacy protection, I'm sure the effort to squash identity theft that is this rampant (and easily commited on the internet) might be not worth the constant diligence required to quell all international crime.