(NC) Your smartphone, laptop, tablet and USB keys often hold a lot of sensitive personal information ( which can lead to big problems if they’re lost or stolen.

Misplace your personal device and you could be at risk for identity theft. Lose track of a mobile device at work and you could have an embarrassing and potentially costly privacy breach on your hands.

Don’t let it happen to you by following these key tips to protect against loss, theft and virtual threats.

Enable built-in privacy controls. Automatic locks, passwords and encryption are all easy ways to protect sensitive information stored on your mobile device. Check your device’s settings.

Lock it down. Lock up hard drives and USB keys containing sensitive data. Don’t leave mobile devices unattended or in a vehicle. Limit the personal information stored on devices to what’s absolutely necessary.

Use apps and programs carefully. Look for content from trusted and official sources. Keep apps and software up to date, and delete what you no longer use. Be sure to check mobile app permissions before granting access to potentially sensitive information like location, contacts, device ID, camera and media files.

Mind your Wi-Fi. Turn off the auto-connect feature on your mobile devices so they won’t connect automatically to open signals. Avoid using public Wi-Fi for sensitive transactions like online banking.

Wipe it clean. Delete all personal content before transferring or disposing of your device. Restore to its factory settings and erase internal storage, which will delete all applications, music, movies and photos. Disintegration, incineration, pulverization, shredding and melting are other sure fire ways to destroy data permanently.

Find more information online at priv.gc.ca/fraud.