Your computer needs spring cleaning too

Image 1 of 2

Cleaning up your devices provides another barrier for ID thieves

We all know the phrase "spring cleaning." We clean out our closets, get rid of clothes and old toys, and maybe clean out the garage. But don't forget to purge and protect your computers and other online life. Sorry to add another chore, but a little work now will help you avoid a lot of trouble later.

First, get on that computer or phone and update all of your software so that you have the latest safety features. Online thieves look to get in that way and through outdated software, too.  Dump - yes - get rid of any software that you don't use any longer because chances are, if it's old enough, makers are no longer providing any security updates for it.

And while you're at it, this includes trial software. You know that 30-day trial you were trying then didn't ultimately sign up for?  Get rid of it. 

Now that this is done back up your computer. You should be doing this more than once a year. If you're not doing it at all, get it done.

Here are a few more digital spring cleaning tips. Scan your computer for malware. Freshen up and strengthen those passwords. Purge your email. How many are just sitting there clogging up your inbox? Get rid of them. Empty the trash. I try to set aside a little time once a week to purge my phone, my email and my computer. In fact, I just put all of my pictures and videos from 2015 onto an external hard drive for safekeeping.

And one more thing: Do some digital spring cleaning for your peace of mind. Many of us are on more social media platforms than we actually use -- TwitterFacebookInstagramSnapchatTumblr. It goes on and on. If you don't use it, delete it. I just cleaned off so many unused apps off of my phone and it felt good to get rid of the clutter.