This blog post was made in collaboration with Norton and all my opinions are my own.
Last year, I made a leap of faith and decided to pursue content creation full-time. While getting a lay-off notice was absolutely scary, I also knew deep down inside that it was time to turn my side hustle into a full-time a creative career. I love that I’ve been able to build a creative career online. I’m so thankful I’ve had multiple online spaces to share my love of fashion, content creation, and beautiful places I’ve visited. Personally, I couldn’t imagine not having my blog these last 6 years. I’ve been able to document and capture memories while building my online presence and business.
Even though I love sharing my photos, videos, and stories online, I want to make sure I keep my personal information private. While my outfits and favorite locations around the city are for my audience and the greater public, my passwords, credit card information, and where I live are confidential.
Why should content creators care about protecting their personal information?
As an online content creator, I spend most of my day in front of my laptop or in front of my phone. I’m either engaging on social media, writing my next course, or creating brand partnership content. It’s no surprise that when you even add “fun” time (online shopping or browsing through Pinterest or Etsy), I spend a ton of time online.
The truth is, as influencers and content creators, we probably are more at risk than the average person because we spend our time both as regular consumers and for our online careers. Whether we enter our credit card information for our next online purchase or we link our social media accounts to required brand platforms, we may be intentionally/unintentionally exposing our information that could be taken advantage of by cyber criminals.
Plus, we’ve all seen the horror stories of influencers getting their social media profiles accounts hacked. In the best outcomes, some creators have been able to recover their accounts. In the worst outcomes, influencers have seen their accounts held for ransom… demanding the influencer to wire money to a third party to retrieve their account back.
While I don’t mean to scare you, I do want to share a few ways today protect your personal information as an online content creator. I’m partnering with Norton to help you learn what you can do to protect your information. One way to do that is to first understand what sensitive information is:
What does sensitive information look like?
- Your address or previous addresses
- Marital status
- Your phone number
- Your passwords
Here are 6 tips on protecting your personal information online as a content creator:
1. Question odd requests and offers in messages
If a person or company sends you a direct message on social media or email that looks a little funny, stop and think about it before clicking or complying with their message.
For example, there are lots of companies posing to be affiliated with social media companies like Instagram claiming that they can get you verified on the app. Instagram has outlined how to get verified on the Help Instagram page and it’s not through a third party affiliated company. Please don’t click on those spam links!
2. Invest in Norton Privacy Monitor
As a content creator, there’s so much to think about. One minute you’re planning a photo shoot, the next you’re writing copy for social media, your blog post, or your podcast outline. One way to protect your personal information is to use products like Norton Privacy Monitor. This product does the work for you by scanning popular data websites and submitting deletion requests on your behalf, so your personal information isn’t out there floating on the internet.
3. Be aware of types of phishing emails
A lot of influencer stories of getting their social media profiles hacked are linked to phishing emails.
Here are a few ways to recognize and avoid phishing emails:
- Online requests of personal information – If a company or individual is requesting you place your username and password of your social media profile in their website, take a second to evaluate whether it’s an established, real company.
- Inspect email addresses or links – Before you click on links in an email, you can do a quick inspection by hovering your mouse over the URL to see where the link goes to. If the URL doesn’t look like a real web address, don’t click on it.
- Avoid urgent emails that tell you to take immediate action – If an email is coming from a brand or company, chances are there’s some back-and-forth negotiations that have to happen before you agree to work together in a brand campaign. Even if it’s a quick campaign timeline, there is always time to negotiate. So, if you see an email that says “act now” that leads to a website asking you to provide your personal info, ignore it and delete it.
For more tips on identifying online scams, check out Norton’s blog post: How to Avoid Online Scams.
4. Set strong passwords
While this might seem like an obvious one, setting strong passwords for your devices, social media profiles, and other online accounts is essential. Here are a few tips for setting strong passwords:
- Create unique passwords, Norton recommends at least 12 characters long
- Include symbols, numbers, lowercase, and capital letters in your passwords
- Change them regularly and don’t share them with others
5. Use multi-factor authentication
If your social media profiles or favorite apps on your phone offer either a two factor or multi-factor authentication, set it up. This is an additional layer of protecting your personal information and account.
6. Back up your information regularly
If you’re a content creator with tons of photos, videos, or written blog posts or podcast outlines, get in the habit of backing up your files regularly. You can back up files on a external hardrive or in a cloud. In a worst-case scenario of experiencing some sort of data loss, then you at least have your files backed up.
If you want to take the next step in protecting your personal information online as a content creator, you can learn more about Norton:
Norton helps protect you and your family online with solutions for devices and your privacy and identity. Norton provides multi-layered advanced security to product your devices from malware, phishing, and viruses. They also monitor threats to your identity as well as helps families set Parental Controls for their connected devices.
There are four product offerings from Norton to explore:
- Norton AntiVirus Plus
- Norton 360 Deluxe
- Norton 360 with LifeLock Select
- Norton 360 LifeLock Ultimate Plus
Each plan varies by the number of devices they cover, the size of the cloud backup, and more.
Additionally, there are four product offerings from Norton to check out:
- Ultimate Plus
Each plan varies by number of VPN for number of family members as well as other services like phone takeover monitoring and alerts on crimes committed in your name.
What other tips do you have for protecting your personal information online as a content creator?
Thank you for reading!