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Better Business Bureau encourages digital spring cleaning

Taking some simple steps now can help safeguard your devices and help you get organized.
Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 7:20 AM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Now is a popular time for spring cleaning, but it’s not just homes, offices, and yards that need to be decluttered.

“It’s also a really good time to look at our digital life and see what we need to spring clean there,” Julie Wheeler, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau Serving Western Virginia, said.

Our devices can be vulnerable to malware, viruses and scams if we’re not careful.

“So we want to make sure that we are protecting ourselves as much as we can,” she said.

The BBB has a Digital Spring Cleaning Checklist that starts with changing and securing passwords.

“If an account allows you to have two-factor authentication where you receive a message via text or email with a code, that helps give a second set of verification that makes sure it’s you that’s signed into that account,” Wheeler said.

You also want to make sure devices have up-to-date malware and virus protection.

“It’s very important because the crooks, as soon as one version comes out, they figure out a way through it, so it has to be updated again,” she cautioned.

Deleting apps that you don’t use anymore is also important because it’s one fewer site or company that has your personal information.

“You know, get the dump truck. Pull it up. Dump them out get rid of them,” Wheeler said.

Now’s also a great time to back up important documents or irreplaceable photos.

“An incredible percentage of us never back up our data and it’s actually pretty easy at this point,” Wheeler said.

There’s online storage through the Cloud or Google; or you can get an external hard drive.

“Computers do fail,” Wheeler said. “And unfortunately a lot of people get caught and they lose those photos, those lifelong memories.”

And don’t forget that if you really want something gone completely, don’t just send it to the recycle bin. There’s more to completely wiping and over-writing delete folders.

All this and more is there to protect your data and private information.

To further help you, the BBB is hosting a Secure Your ID event Saturday, April 24 at the Salem Civic Center from 8-11 a.m.

There will be several shredders you can use to safely shred any documents you don’t need anymore that have your personal information on them.

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