In the age of Facebook and Twitter, you might think that privacy is history. But it doesn’t have to be. In fact, Forbes recently ran a story detailing some simple steps you can take to increase your privacy in the Internet era. If you forget to take these steps, then you have no one to blame but yourself if cyber criminals gain access to your bank information, e-mail messages or other private data.

Password Protection is Key

Forbes recommends that you always password-protect your mobile devices. That way, if you ever lose your tablet or someone steals your smartphone, the thief won’t be able to effortlessly access your device and the personal data stored on it. Forbes compares password-protecting your devices to locking your home’s front door; it’s just a wise practice.

The Power of Google Alerts

Google Alerts are a nifty tool. Just tell Google what you are interested in, and each time that thing is mentioned online, Google sends you an alert. You can even tell Google to alert you whenever your name is thrown about online. This is a good way to monitor what others are saying about you on the internet. This way, you’ll know immediately if your privacy is being violated online.

Signing Out Matters

Finally, Forbes reminds you to sign out of your accounts each and every time you’re done with your online banking, Facebook updates or e-mail retrievals. Because, you don’t want another person to stumble upon your computer and snoop around your personal sites simply because you forgot to sign out. And if you’re using a public computer such as one at your local library or bookstore? Signing out is an even more important step.

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