Modern technology has many advantages. Unfortunately, it can also make us vulnerable to improper use of our personal information. During a divorce, it isn’t unusual for spouses to improperly (and sometimes illegally) access accounts to try to dig up information or even engage in malicious activity. When going through a breakup, it is important to take steps to protect yourself and your privacy. Below are just a few suggestions of actions to take.
· Unfriend your ex on social media. You should also seriously consider unfriending contacts that you have in common or, if they are primarily your friends, ask them to unfriend your ex. It isn’t uncommon for exes to use common connections to mine for information.
· Change all privacy settings on social media so that only friends can see your posts and check those settings often. There is no reason that the entirety of Facebook needs to see that you were at a concert.
· Close any accounts that you no longer use. Leaving them open does nothing for you except provide another opportunity for your ex to invade your privacy.
· Consider limiting your posts (or not posting on social media at all). No post is ever truly private and even a seemingly innocuous post could come back to haunt you.
· Change passwords on the account you still have. Even if you don’t think it is likely, you should assume that your ex knows your current passwords (especially if you use the same one on multiple accounts).
· Select strong passwords and don’t use passwords that relate to things you and your ex have in common. Picking a password that includes something like the name of a shared pet makes it much easier for him or her to guess your new password.
· Enable two-step verification whenever possible. This extra layer of security means that you will be notified if anyone attempts to change a password on your accounts.
· Close browser windows and shut down devices when not in use. It doesn’t take long for someone to access your information if you leave your computer on.
· If you still live under the same roof (or even if you don’t), always close out of accounts when you are done using them, and don’t select the “remember me” box. Yes, it can be a pain to log back in, but failing to log out leaves your accounts open to snooping (or running up bills on your Target account).
· Consider removing bookmarked sites or, at minimum, make sure that they don’t automatically log you in when clicked. The extra few seconds to get to a site is worth the added privacy.
· If you share a device, such as an iPad, give serious thought to buying a new one. If you cannot afford to do so, stop sharing the device. This will make it more difficult for your ex to access your accounts and messages.
· Make sure you disable any shared cloud services, such as Dropbox or shared calendars. Set up new individual accounts instead. You can always open a new dedicated shared calendar, or similar services, if truly needed.
· Consider the possibility that spyware has been installed. Generally, it is illegal to put spyware on someone else’s phone or computer, but this doesn’t mean it can’t happen. You shouldn’t be paranoid – it is rare that an ex goes to this extent to get information – but if you have reason to believe that your phone or computer may have been compromised, you should consult with an expert and, if appropriate, contact the authorities.
To discuss a divorce or any family-law matter, contact Kruse Family Law, PLLC at 612.231.9865 or email firstname.lastname@example.org