Forget about me: Clean out your old accounts

Forget about me: Clean out your old accounts

If you’ve been following along with January’s Security for Everyone theme, you’re already in pretty good shape for securing your online accounts! You’ve got your password manager set up. You’re using good passwords. And you’re monitoring for breaches.

There’s yet another thing you can do to minimize ways in which attackers or data brokers can get your personal information: Delete your account.

Where do you exist?

Forget about Facebook, Twitter, Netflix and your credit cards. You probably need those accounts, right? Instead, consider all of those other places that you’ve set up accounts. That random shop you bought a gift on once in 2012. The discussion forum for the guitar you no longer have. The grocery store coupons from that shop you moved away from last year.

All of these places have your information and pose two risks to you: First, if they’re breached by attackers, information you stored with them could be available on the Internet. Second, any info they have on you could also be shared with data brokers.

While you can’t retroactively do anything about either of these, you can protect yourself in the future – and keep your email inbox a little cleaner!

Go ahead, cancel me.

Open your email box and do a simple search for “Unsubscribe.” That will probably show you a lot of emails. Scroll through the list, focusing on the sender. Do you still use Meetup? Have you ever opened a coupon from Staples?

Once you’ve identified the accounts you don’t need, go to the website and sign in. Every website has a different way to cancel or delete your account. You might have to search deep in the “My Account” or “Settings” for some very small type.

Before you click that link though, change your info! Just hitting “delete” on your account isn’t a guarantee that your information is removed from a company’s servers and so you can’t be sure it won’t be used by attackers or data brokers. Change or remove your name, phone, address and any other info you can before you delete it.

If it’s a forum or discussion board, you might even consider deleting your posts one-by-one if they have personal or identifying information.

To find even more possible places to go, do the above again, but search for “Your Account

Every step helps

This might seem like a really small, inconsequential thing to do, but every little bit helps when it comes to protecting your information. Set aside a bit of time every week to do it!