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I have to tell you this story. When my college-going son moved to Los Angeles, he asked me for the house number of a place I rented in the area 28 years ago for two months.
I laughed because I couldn’t remember. Then – I was shocked!
About five minutes later, he sent me a link to a free people finder site that listed that house number, along with all the other addresses where I’ve lived, my current address, links to my relatives, their age, my age and even my personal mobile number.
All this data was not behind a paywall. It just took a search of my name, and bam – the privacy was gone.
That’s when I started an initiative on my site to list the exact steps to remove your data from these creepy people finder sites.
HACKERS WANT GOOGLE ACCOUNTS; GIVE YOURS THIS SECURITY CHECK NOW
These sites often hide the steps. Don’t worry, we’ve done the heavy lifting for you.
Tap or click for a list of 13 creepy sites that likely contain your phone number, addresses, age, relatives, etc., along with steps to delete your information. I bet you will be surprised what you see online about you that is free.
Be sure to bookmark this page so you can reference it later too.
A safer online life is just minutes away. Follow this list – then congratulate yourself for taking care of your digital self.
Hide your house on Google Maps and Apple Maps
As handy as Google Maps and Apple Maps are, it’s disconcerting to see your house number and address by anyone on the internet. Here’s a secret. You can request a privacy blur on your home photos.
Here’s how to send a request to Google:
Open Google Maps or the Street View Gallery – and find your address.
Tap the Street View photo you want to blur. The image should show your face, home address, license plate, or other identifying information.
Click on “report a problem”. You will see it at the bottom right or by clicking on the three-dot menu on a photo.
Complete the form, then click “submit”.
For Apple Maps, you need to email MapsImageCollection@apple.com and also do the following:
Ask for your house to be blurred.
Provide Apple with your full address.
Include additional property details so Apple knows which house to censor.
MAP TIPS: GET MORE FROM GOOGLE MAPS WITH THESE 10 SMART TIPS
Check for any strange behavior
Spyware is malicious software that runs quietly in the background, tracking almost everything you do. These sneaky downloads leave digital clues if you know what to look for.
Task Manager on a Windows PC and Activity Monitor on a Mac can give you an overview of everything that’s going on on your machine.
Here’s what to do if you’re using a PC:
Open task manager by tapping Ctrl + Shift + Esc. Under the Processes tab, you will see apps and background processes running on your PC.
Go through the list. If you see a name you don’t recognize, search for it online to see what pops up. Sometimes these background programs and processes are legitimate and worthless even if you don’t know the name at first glance.
To close an application or process, right click and knock Final task. Check again later to see if it works again.
Here’s what to do if you’re using a Mac:
To open the activity monitor, tap Command + Spacebar to open Spotlight search. Then type Activity Monitor and press Walk in. Check the list for anything you don’t recognize.
Double-click to close a program or process, then press To leave.
Tap or click for more signs that someone is spying on your computer.
Lock your computer
Leaving your computer unlocked invites anyone to snoop around. If your laptop is stolen or lost, it could also land you in a horrible place.
Lock yours with a strong, unique password. This means that there are no repetitions! Since you must enter this password each time you open your computer, you must remember it.
If your computer lets you unlock it with biometrics, like your fingerprint, that’s an even easier solution.
Otherwise, use these same password guidelines for all online accounts:
Use a combination of letters, special characters, numbers and capitals.
Aim for at least 12 characters.
Consider creating a passphrase instead of a password. These are longer, harder to decipher and easier to remember. Tap or click here and scroll down to #3 for more details on creating one.
To lock your Windows PC:
Go to Begin > Settings > Accounts.
Click on Login Options from the left pane.
Click on To add under the Password section.
Enter a new password. Click on Nextthen Finish.
To lock your Mac:
When setting up a Mac, you are prompted to create a login password. Here’s how to set your password to unlock your computer:
Click it apple iconthen System Preferences.
Click on Security and Privacy.
Check the Require password on the General tab.
Set the password duration to immediately to set your Mac to automatically lock when it enters sleep or screen saver mode.
Know about this hidden vulnerability in your browser
Extensions allow you to customize your browser and add powerful features. But not all extensions are useful. Some follow you around the Internet, consume your computer’s resources, and worse.
How do you know what is safe? Google Chrome awards a “Featured” badge to extensions that follow “Google’s technical best practices and meet a high standard of user experience and design.”
Hey, at least that’s something.
PRIVACY TIP: 5 WAYS YOU ARE TRACKED YOU NEED TO STOP NOW
A sure sign that an extension is bad news? You have no memory of downloading it, so delete it.
It’s also useful to search the web for a phrase like “Is (the extension you’re using) safe to use?” See what pops up and pay close attention to the security warnings.
Here’s how to remove an extension from Chrome:
Open your Chromium Browser. Press the three vertical dots to the right of your profile icon.
Hover over More tools and select Extensions.
Click on Remove on the extension you want to remove, then click Remove Again.
Use Safari on Mac? To remove an extension, follow these steps:
Picking out Safari > Preferences. Click on Extensions.
To uninstall an extension, select it and click Uninstall.
Don’t stop there. Tap or click to discover 9 more ways to make Chrome more secure.
Keep your technological know-how
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today.” It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and questions from callers like you across the country.
Look for it wherever you get your podcasts.
For your convenience, click the link below for a recent episode.
PODCAST CHOICE: Ford helps the police, another Prime Day, the crazy crimes of John McAfee
Prepare for electric police chases, courtesy of Ford’s police partnership. I have all the details, plus the scoop on leaked Amazon docs. It looks like we’re getting another Prime Day. Plus, you can now wear smart scarves to stay cool. My advice: wear one while you watch Netflix’s true crime story John McAfee. It’s a crazy race.
Find my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.
Just search for my last name, “Komando”.
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Copyright 2019, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.
Discover all the latest technologies on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data breaches.
For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com