Sunday, September 16, 2018

Identity Theft in the Age of Social Media

We’ve increasingly heard the term “identity theft” and heard about how to protect ourselves from being a victim. Things like shredding junk mail and documents containing sensitive information, not giving out credit card information or social security numbers and securing your mail in a post office box. But social media is safe, right? Think again.

“Social media, in its present form, has been around a relatively short term and even though you probably can’t imagine living without it now, except for the last few decades, everyone did.”

“Social media sites function on the personal information users provide. This can expose the consumer to fraud and abuse. If your mobile banking app is on your phone, for instance, cybercriminals can access your online banking information through an app that is unrelated to your online banking.

What you post online for friends, family and the internet to see can also leave you vulnerable. For instance, when you post that you are going on vacation, you alert potential burglars that you are away.

Accepting “connections” or “friendships” with people you are not somehow familiar with in your everyday life can put you at risk. Cybercriminals can guess your passwords simply by the items you post online, such as your pets’ names, children’s names or details regarding your former schools or current city.

Below are some tips to protect your identity in the age of social media:

  • Create strong, multi-character passwords for your email and all apps on your phone, and remember to change them often.
  • When utilizing apps, enter as little personal information as possible.
  • Be cautious about what you post online. Never use personal information such as your Social Security number, current address or telephone number.
  • Make sure your privacy settings are set to the highest level. Check these settings often since they may be affected by upgrades.
  • Avoid downloading free applications for use on your social media profiles.
  • Avoid accepting connections or friendships with people you are not familiar with.
  • Verify any link sent to you was sent from your connection or friend.
  • Google your own name, as well as any social media handles you utilize, to track any possible forged accounts.”

Whatever you use it for…enjoy social media. Connect with up with former classmates, keep in touch with family members who live far away or just chronicle your life experiences as a digital scrapbook, but remember to keep an appropriate amount of privacy to protect yourself from those who don’t have your best interest in mind.

For more information on identity theft visit

1 comment:

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