The 10 Most Popular Compass Articles of 2020

 With more people working from home and attending school remotely in 2020, we embraced technology like never before.  When the last email was answered and all tasks were checked off, we continued online.  Young consumers flocked to TikTok to see what sneaker brand the influencers wore today.  Romance was spawned, and hearts were broken over Tinder .  Conscientious adults took a front row seat for the inner workings of the government via the latest Tweetstorm. 

As our time spent online continued to grow, so too did the prevalence of internet scams. 

While we know we can’t do anything about the boom in digital fraud, many wondered how it would affect us personally.  After all, how much control do we have over our safety online?  If only we had the ability to see what and who is on the other side of our chats, our messages ,and that link we never should have opened.  

At Spokeo, helping people use the internet wisely is something we’re passionate about.  That’s why we’ve rounded up 10 of our most popular articles in the past year.  In them, you’ll find information to keep you safe, sane, and connected with the people you love as we venture further into the decade. 

Drumroll, please, for the best of the best in 2020.

1. 6 Most Common Apps Used for Infidelity

The internet makes it easy to cheat, from the established dating sites to the not-so-obvious chat platforms.  There are apps that are popular with serial cheaters that allow users to get rid of evidence using an auto destruct feature.  The occasional cheater, however, might opt for an unpretentious messaging app, which, while it doesn’t enable secret conversations, makes it easy enough to delete flirty messages.  Learn to identify the most popular apps for cheating and how you can uncover potential infidelity. 

2. Scam Phone Numbers and Phone Scam Area Codes

Digital phone numbers make it easy for scammers to appear as if they’re calling from any location they choose.  But before you give in to temptation and call back an unknown number, you’ll want to read our article about scam phone numbers.  Learn how scammers reel in their victims and discover strategies to identify sketchy digits.  You’ll find a list of frequently used area codes, including a way to tell whether a call is legitimate. 

3. The Most Common Middle Names in the U.S.

Why do we have middle names anyway?  Discover where these names originate historically and which have been the most popular.  These days, there are some interesting new trends surrounding middle name selection.  For example, some parents are choosing to use professions, like Pilot, a virtue, like Hope, or even a fruit, like Apple.  You’ll also want to know when, for safety’s sake, it’s most important to use your own middle name and how to find someone else’s middle name when you need to. 

4. Should You Allow Apps to Know Your Location?

Your nosy neighbor doesn’t know where you are right now.  So why should your calculator app?  When you give an app your location, you give up a bit of privacy.  Is the trade-off worth it?  There are factors you should consider before giving out this information.  And did you know that denying an app your location doesn’t always prevent you from being tracked?  This article provides the steps you can take to safeguard your security.

5. 5 Signs You’re Dealing With an Internet Scammer

Scams abound online.  There are the blatant ones, like the $5,000 Nigerian prince scam, and the not-so- obvious, like a $200 enrollment kit for a work-from-home opportunity.   Be wary of pressuring tactics, email or phone requests for personal data, and strange-looking domain names.  Learn to identify and avoid scams as well as determine whether an email is legitimate.

6. MTV’s “Catfish” Uncovers Identities Using Spokeo’s Information Search Tool

Popular MTV series, “Catfish,” is a fascinating study of our lives in the age of cyber identities.  The show helps victims of these deceptions uncover the truth.  “Catfishing” refers to an elaborate scheme of deception played out online.  The resulting stories are full of drama, intrigue, and, in some cases, therapy for the victims.  MTV co-hosts, Max and Nev, having tried a number of search tools at the show’s inception, found that Spokeo yields impressive results.  Discover how they use the platform to help victims of fraud and how you can use Spokeo, as well.

7. Finding Family: How to Connect with Long-Lost Relatives Online

Many people turn to DNA analysis, like Ancestry.com, to locate long-lost family members.  But these services can leave you hanging when it comes to establishing contact.  Discover how to find email addresses, phone numbers and more.  Spokeo, for example, pulls information from more than 12 billion public records, providing access to contact information, social media account handles — even the names of family members.  Then, once you have a way to connect, the article outlines how to stay safe and ensure a positive outcome. 

8. 8 Ways to Stop Getting Spam Emails

While some email is the result of overzealous marketing, spam can threaten your security.  You can greatly reduce the amount of spam in your inbox by using the features built into your email platform.  Beyond these features and filters, there are other non-technical steps you can take.  Although it is impossible to eliminate spam altogether, you can reduce the volume with the practical strategies outlined here.

9. Is TikTok Safe? What Parents Should Know About the Popular App

TikTok may seem like harmless fun: teens uploading videos of themselves singing, lip syncing, or talking, while trading messages back and forth.  Parents, however, should be cautious.  Although TikTok has recently taken stricter measures to protect those under 13 from divulging personal data and viewing inappropriate content, you still have an important role to play.  This article outlines the various approaches to monitoring and managing your child’s online activity.

10. What Everyone Should Know About Identity Theft and Fraud

Much of your life (including banking) takes place online, which means that you’re leaving behind a digital footprint of your personal activity, including financial details. If any of that personal information should fall into the wrong hands, it could upset your life for months or years. Learn how to know if your identity has been stolen, how to report identity theft, and what you can do to minimize the damage to your finances and reputation. 

Side note: look out for Spokeo Identity Theft Protection coming in 2021!

Stay Safe, Be Informed

There you have it: our best articles to help you and your family enjoy the internet in the coming year.  With so many online opportunities, it’s more important than ever to use technology wisely.  The conveniences are right at your fingertips.  So, too, are the scammers and the tricksters. 

You don’t have to be a victim.  It’s easy to protect yourself and the ones you love when you have the right tools and information.  At Spokeo, we’re dedicated to bringing you what you need to stay safe online.