Social media is a trending form of communication, but using it puts your personal information at great risk. It’s easier than ever for thieves to use data gleaned from your social accounts to hijack your identity with just a click of a button. Learn how to protect your identity and prevent theft when using social media by following these tips:
Minimize the Amount of Personal Details You Share
- What’s the name of your favorite pet?
- In what city were you born?
- What high school did you attend?
- What’s your favorite movie?
- What was the make of your first car?
- When is your anniversary?
- What was your high school mascot?
This is a list of typical security questions that companies use to protect your valuable information and privacy on their websites. Enterprising thieves can determine the answers to many of these questions by taking a look at your Facebook profile and pages you’ve liked. To secure your identity from being stolen, try minimizing the amount of personal information you share on social media.
Refrain from Posting Online When You’re out of Town or on Vacation
Sharing with your social community that you’re on a relaxing vacation, including details about how long you’ll be gone, might seem like a harmless activity, but it’s a “Welcome” sign for burglars. Try holding off from posting that relaxing picture of yourself on the beach until you’ve returned from vacation to avoid letting thieves know that your “home, sweet home” is “vacant, very vacant.”
Don’t Post Pictures of Your Financial or Personal Documents
“That’s a given,” right? Many think this is common sense, but some people get so excited about their new driver’s license or credit card that they post pictures of them online. This kind of information arms identity thieves with the ammunition they need to plunder through your accounts. If you must post a picture of your personal documents, make sure to blur any numbers or information that can be used to steal your identity.
Only Invite or Accept Friend Request from Individuals You Know
Avoid adding strangers to your network. If you don’t know the individual that sent you a friend request, it might not be safe to add them to your network. It could be a fake profile or a person simply trying to gain access to your information. Fake profiles are sometimes used to commit malicious activity, so befriend strangers at your own risk.
Use Extreme Caution with Unfamiliar Links
When a friend shares a link on your wall with a message that you should “check out this one of a kind deal,” think twice before clicking the link. It might just open the door for a hacker to download malicious software on your computer. In addition to corrupting your files, some malicious software can access your personal information, putting you at extreme risk for identity theft. But it doesn’t stop there; the hacker posts the same link on your wall, putting your friends at risk of falling prey to the same scam that you did. It’s a great idea to install an anti-virus program to help protect your computer, but the first line of defense is you.
Social networking is a great way of staying in touch with family and friends, but it can also make you vulnerable to identity theft. Be aware of what you post and share on your social media profiles. Please share any tips in the comment section below to help others avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.
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