BBB Tip: Data Privacy


We all share a lot of information when we use the internet. Our devices communicate with us – and with each other – for ease of shopping, banking, travel arrangements, and keeping in touch with friends.

When online, it’s important to safeguard your data to help avoid scams, fraud, and identity theft. Better Business Bureau and the National Cyber Security Alliance offer the following tips to help secure the privacy of your critical information:

  • Share with care. What you post can last a lifetime, so think about who will see your posts and photos, how they will be perceived, and what information they reveal about you.
  • Own your online presence. Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
  • Value your personal information. Think of your personal information like money: value and protect it. Be careful what sites you visit and be sure you are on a legitimate site before entering personal information. Be especially wary of communications that implore you to act immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal information.
  • Make your passwords long and strong. Use long passwords with a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols. Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts. Keep a paper list of your passwords in a safe place, not on or near your computer.
  • Lock down your login. For your online accounts, use the strongest authentication tools available. Your user names and passwords are not enough; consider two-factor authentication for key accounts like email, banking, and social media.
  • Don’t click on unfamiliar links. Whether at home or at work, don’t click on links from unfamiliar sources or unexpected correspondence. One false click can infect a whole computer… or a whole business.


For more information:

Individuals should check out the National Cyber Security Alliance’s Privacy Tips, including special information for teens, parents, older adults, mobile users, and more.

Businesses should check out BBB’s Five Steps to Better Business Cybersecurity ( Ask the BBB in your area about programs for business leaders and employees ( 

Hear BBB’s privacy and security professionals discuss data privacy issues on our “Better Business > Better Series” podcast series.

Subscribe to the series on your mobile device or click here to listen to it on the web.

Last Reviewed:  January 16, 2017