The World Wide Web is an infinite landscape that allows us to express ourselves and connect with people all around the globe. It’s been around for 50 years, so while the internet itself is no longer a new craze, the trends within it are ever-changing – remember MySpace? Bebo? Piczo anyone?
Like all trendy things, platforms go out of style, and as users, we move with the times. But have you ever stopped and wondered exactly how many accounts you have on the World Wide Web? The redundant ones and the forgotten ones? Or the ones we create simply for a discount code?
As the beast that is the internet continues to grow, we’ve become more aware of the things we should be concerned about, particularly our data and privacy settings. That’s why it’s more important than ever to stay on top of our accounts so we know exactly how our personal information is being used (remember the colossal Facebook scandal?).
With a large percentage of our lives existing online, it’s all too easy to forget what we’ve signed up for (particularly those free trials we never continue with). In this guide, we’re going to discover how we can find ALL the accounts we’ve signed up for that have access to our data. This is not intended to induce fear regarding our internet habits. It’s to help you take charge of your online presence so you can be more mindful in the future and feel safe out here in cyberspace. Luckily, you don’t need to be a tech whizz to do this – it’s much simpler than it sounds.
You might be wondering why we should find an exhaustive list of all the accounts we’ve set up over the last 50 years. Is it really that big of a deal to give out your email address so you can stream music? Or log in to your Facebook account to buy a dress? Well, it turns out it might not as innocent as we once thought and there are a few reasons you may want to think twice about your account access and data.
Now we’re living in the digital age, there seem to be new data breaches coming out of the woodwork daily. Although the majority of companies are safe and have regulations in place about how your information is used, mistakes still happen. If you’re unaware of particular accounts you have, how could you possibly know if your data ends up in the wrong hands?
There’s an app for everything these days and we often don’t realize how much of our money is going towards monthly subscriptions. You may have started a free trial, didn’t like the app and stopped using it without cancelling the charge. One of the major factors in why streaming services are so popular is because they’re usually pretty cheap but once we have a few on the go, they quickly add up. Ask yourself are you throwing money away on services you don’t use?
There’s a new conversation circulating in the tech world and that’s regarding our ‘digital legacy’. Many platforms now have ways to memorialize us once we’ve gone to the celestial city, but it’s up to us to pay attention to what accounts we have open and what is on them while we’re still here. Taking control of these accounts means we decide how they’ll be handled if we suddenly kicked the bucket.
So, now you know why it’s important to keep track of your accounts, how exactly are you going to remember every single platform and website you’ve ever signed up to? Well, you might be bright, but no one is that level of genius! However, there are some super simple shortcuts in getting that information so let’s get on with it…
Probably the oldest and most common way to create an account is with your email address. As long as you know you’re previous and current email addresses, you can find all of the accounts linked to them in a matter of minutes.
If you’re a Gmail user, finding profiles attached to that account is going to be pretty straightforward. A full list of authorized websites will be found in your email settings. To obtain this list follow these simple steps:
If you’re an Outlook or Hotmail user, it’s going to be a pretty similar process to the Gmailers. As Microsoft owns Outlook (previously Hotmail), you’ll need to manage your third-party access through there. Here are the steps to follow:
If you’re a Yahoo user, the process will be much like the Gmailers, Outlookers, and Hotmailers. To get hold of the list of authorized websites, these are the steps to follow:
It sounds nuts to use Facebook, LinkedIn, or another social platform as a form of security, but hey, that’s the world we live in! If we’re being honest, it’s much quicker and easier (and lazier) to log in to an account by allowing our screens to redirect us rather than manually switching between apps and internet tabs to confirm our email addresses. So, let’s find out how to check what apps and sites we’ve signed up for using our social media.
As the platform that boasts the most users, it’s no wonder Facebook has become such a core element in everyday life. To check what apps are linked to your Facebook account, follow these 5 steps:
The social media platform popular with professionals is great for industry news or job opportunities, but is it really an account you want connected to all your apps and services? To make sure you’re comfortable with all the apps you have associated with your LinkedIn profile, follow these steps:
A restricted character count per post makes Twitter alluring among many generations – no long-form posts, just straight to the point. However, is your account one you wish to be connected to a large number of apps and websites? If not, follow these steps to check your third-party access:
To find your list of connected apps on the image-based platform, you’ll need to access your account via a desktop browser rather than your mobile app. Once you’ve logged on, follow these steps to remove permissions:
It’s difficult to track what accounts are linked to our phone numbers as no database tracks how our phone numbers are used. Even our chosen phone providers can’t get hold of this information! However, we do often provide our phone numbers as a means of backup for account recovery.
By using the ‘account recovery’ setting on websites, apps, and other platforms, you might be able to find what accounts are linked to your phone number. To do so, you’ll need to have the feature already enabled. You’ll be prompted to send a text and from there you can see which phone number was used.
Remember to be aware that your phone number could be used as part of spam or a phishing attack – we’ve all received a dodgy phone call or text before, right? Be vigilant when responding to this type of correspondence. As long as your mindful, you shouldn’t have too much to worry about.
If you think you might have more accounts out there than what you’ve already retrieved from the previous steps, you still have options to find them. (Doesn’t this feel like some kind of secret service spy work?!)
Think of any old usernames you could have used – most of us tend to have a select few we choose from. Then, simply Google your username in “quotation marks” and results should show everything in the index related to that username. You can also try searching your name in quotes too, but if like me you have a common name it might not be as effective.
The last step in finding outdated accounts is to search your email inbox. Remember to check both your junk mail and deleted folder as well. To search your inbox, simply search for common words found in 'welcome' or 'new user' emails such as:
- Your username
If you clear your inbox frequently, some results might get lost but it’s still worth a shot if you ask me! By adopting this habit regularly, you’ll find it much easier to stay on top of your account usage – particularly the unused and forgettable ones. Then once we rid ourselves of accounts we no longer use, we’re able to take better control of our online presence.
Now you’re up to date with your digital footprint, you can keep on top of it to avoid any future mess with security concerns by storing all your passwords and logins in one secure place. So where exactly that exotic place? On your myFRP account, of course! Head to the Social Media and Important Numbers modules to store all your logins, passwords, and pins.
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