WASHINGTON - Think your bank is keeping your account number secret? Think again.
Many people do their banking online. But what happens when you close your browser? You'd think that information such as your account number, account balances and credit reports is cleared. But it's not, according to a report from the security firm Independent Security Evaluators.
Seventy percent of the sites ISE evaluated store that information on your computer disk. If your laptop is stolen, that information is easily retrievable.
Companies that store your data include Verizon Wireless, PayPal, Allstate, Equifax and Scottrade.
No problem, right? It's your computer.
But if, for instance, you do some banking at work, and someone else uses your computer, your information is theirs, if they want it.
To protect yourself, ISE suggests that you always browse in private mode. It won't stop advertisers and law enforcement from tracking you, but it will stop companies from storing your data to your computer.
Switched.com outlines how to browse privately in each of the major Internet browsers.
In Internet Explorer, use InPrivate. In Firefox, use private browsing. Both can be accessed using the shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+P, or through the "Tools" menu.
Chrome's Incognito can be accessed with the shortcut, Ctrl+Shift+N, or through the wrench menu. In Opera, it's the same shortcut or select "New Private Tab" from the context menu.
In Safari, select "Private Browsing" from the menu bar.
Follow @WTOP on Twitter.
© 2013 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.