A recent article in USA Today discussed things that separated or divorcing couples should do right away to protect themselves and their privacy online. The turmoil of preparing for or going through a divorce can make even important things take a back seat, but everyone facing this situation should consider the following steps to help protect themselves and their electronic privacy:
According to experts, the very first tip is to change your passwords – all of them. Studies have found that 67 percent of couples have shared at least one account password with their partner, while 27 percent have shared their email password. Though sharing passwords is universally seen as a sign of trust, continuing to allow access to important information to someone you are embroiled in litigation with is asking for trouble. While your spouse may never choose to access your private information, simply changing your password can ensure there is no prospect of having valuable personal information hijacked by an angry estranged spouse.
Secure your gadgets
Given the wide use of iPhones, smartphones, and tablet computers, many Americans have vast troves of valuable personal information simply laying around the house for anyone to access. If you and your spouse still reside in the same house, it is incredibly easy for him/her to access not only your text messages, but also your emails, social media profiles, bank accounts, and credit card apps. Securing your personal electronic devices with a PIN can help prevent this kind of snooping.
Cut off shared services
Though court orders requiring couples to maintain the status quo may prevent spouses from taking money from shared bank accounts, there is rarely any reason why one party cannot cut off some shared services. Most married couples share access to services like Netflix, Amazon, or Apple – which may appear to be simple entertainment services, but ones that can also contain valuable data.
For instance, a shared Apple ID gives your spouse access to your iCloud account, which can allow them to see your photos, contacts, emails, and even your physical location. Entertainment services like Netflix and Amazon allow for monitoring of purchases and also contain bank account information that you should protect. Conduct an inventory of shared services so that you know which ones will need to be canceled and reestablished again in your own name.