Have you ever visited a website that you have signed up to and created an account and then never used it again?

There have been a number of stories appearing recently that highlights a growing problem with the abundance of services and account sign ups on the internet. The story I will focus on is about a home owner who found a car parked on her property that she knew nothing about. The outcome was that the landlord had signed up for a carparking service a few years back and never cancelled it.

Mum’s fury as driver ‘parks car on her driveway for Birmingham Airport’

Mystery solved into holidaymaker parking car on furious mum’s drive for Birmingham Airport

Over the many years of the internet how many services and pages have you signed up to and have subsequently forgotten about as you have moved onto other services or simply not used it in a very long time?

GDPR is there to protect and ensure data is up to date and correct, but is it really being applied to accounts on systems. There does seem to be a lack of reminders or removal of accounts that have been dormant/not logged in for some time from systems.

You will probably have key accounts that you maintain and use:

  • Daily – such as Social Networks, Shopping, Banking
  • Monthly – such as Utilities (Water, Gas, Electricity)
  • Yearly – such as HMRC/ Inland Revenue for a Tax Return

What else have you signed up to and then not used? Forgotten or unused accounts could pose a security threat to your identity. A good way to see if your details have been gathered by hackers and being sold is through the website Have I been Pwned. https://haveibeenpwned.com/

My Top 5 recommendations to consider when creating an account are:

  1. Think about the system/service you are signing up for. Is this a one off transaction or something you will use on a regular basis.
  2. Use a password management tool to help you track all the sites you use and have accounts on and review this once a month or every couple of months.
  3. Consider cancelling/deleting accounts that you no longer need.
  4. Use different passwords on different systems. A password management tool will help.
  5. Check your emails for changes to accounts/terms and conditions on systems you haven’t used in a while.