Tips on Securing all Electronic and Online Profiles During Divorce
A recent USA Today article provided tips that people who are in the process of separation or divorce should adhere to immediately regarding making private their online accounts as well as electronic devices. The disruption of preparing for or going through a divorce can make many things take a back seat, as such it’s important to remember to make time for precautionary measures as it relates to protecting one’s electronic privacy. The following are some tips to protecting your privacy.Change Email and Social Media Passwords, but do not Delete Accounts
If you are considering divorce the first action you should take as it relates to securing your online identity is to change all of your passwords. A February 2014 Pew Study found that sixty-seven percent of internet users in a marriage have shared the password to one or more of their online accounts with their spouse while twenty-seven percent of internet users in a marriage have an email account that he or she has shared with his or her partner. Older adults and those who have been in their relationship for longer than ten years are especially likely to share an email account.
Though sharing e-mail and social media passwords with your spouse can be perceived as a sign of trust within your marriage, continuing to allow access to important information to someone with whom you’re embroiled in litigation 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. However, do NOT delete email accounts, Facebook accounts, or other social media accounts including dating site accounts you have signed up for. All of that information is or can be evidence in a divorce or custody case so if you start to delete things then you are deleting evidence which can get you in a lot of trouble legally.Secure Your Smartphones and Tablets
According to a January Pew Study, a majority of Americans now use some model of smartphone for telephony as well as e-mail and social media, and the number of smartphone users continues to grow. Forty-two percent of all American adults own tablet which also has vast troves of valuable personal information for which your spouse can access. If you and your spouse still reside in the same home, it is incredibly easy for him or her to access not only your text messages, but also your emails, social media profiles, and bank accounts. Taking the time to secure such personal electronic devices with a new password alleviates the threat of your personal information being accessed.Discontinue Use of Shared Services
Although a temporary court order may be imposed requiring each spouse to maintain the status quo on shared bank accounts from the time the divorce is filed until a final divorce settlement agreement, there is rarely any reason why one party cannot stop using shared services. Most married couples share access to services like Netflix, eBay, Amazon, or iTunes which may appear to be simple entertainment services, but these services can also contain valuable private data.
For example, a shared Apple ID which is used to log into your shared iTunes account 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, eBay and Amazon allow for monitoring of purchases and also contains bank account information that you should protect. It is wise to conduct an inventory of all services you and your spouse share so that you know which accounts possibly can be canceled and reestablished in your own name with a new password. However, again do NOT delete or cancel ANY of these accounts until you have discussed the individual facts of your case with your lawyer but until then discontinue use of these shared accounts.
If you are in the process of separation and considering divorce, it’s imperative you employ a sound strategy that protects your privacy. It’s also important you seek the services of an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the entire divorce process. Contact attorney Jim Widrig or any of the attorneys at Widrig Law PLLC to schedule a free consultation. Our phone number is 615-417-7800