Everybody understands there are specific things you can not share on the web without the threat of serious effects -- pictures of yourself in compromising places, specific details of your travel plans, or what you actually think of your manager to name a few. But there are other nuggets of information we share with regularity and without considering the impacts to our own detriment.
With only a small amount of Twitter
data mining, only a string of Google searches and some social media advice, his co-worker's financial accounts could quite easily be undermined by somebody with bad intentions.
What exactly do you need to stop doing in order to protect your identity?
Given how much of social media is freely accessible, it does not take a great deal of effort for someone to figure out your home address simply from some random Tweets or Instagram images. You'd be surprised how much information can be gleaned from a photo you thought nothing of posting for the entire world to see.
Obviously sharing sensitive information such as account numbers, social security numbers and other identifying information is a big no no on sites like Facebook
& Twitter. Even something as simple as your birth date you entered on a dating website can be enough information for an identity thief to compile more information that they can use to steal your entire identity. Did you know your graduation date and high school you listed on your LinkedIn profile might give criminals enough information to get access to your financial accounts? These are commonly used as challenge passwords for online accounts and it only takes a lucky guess for the id thief to get into your bank account and start doing some real damage.
If you are going to let strangers into your life via social media outlets, be sure to also lock them out of any data or information they could use to target you for identity theft. Never share passwords or even email addresses out in the open world of social media.
Never discuss travel plans, vacations, or times when you may be away from your home. Any criminal who might already have your address can then visit your home undisturbed when you're away.
It's easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when using social media sites. After all, you're just sharing with your friends and family right? But the seemingly innocent bits of information you're sharing are exactly what scammers are looking for when they use phishing scams
to get your private information. Like in the new Netflix user phishing scam where identity thieves impersonated legitimate NetFlix
accounts and convinced customer service reps to give them access to these accounts. Don't make it any easier for these criminals to operate.
If you are worried about identity theft, it is a good idea to track your credit and your bank accounts to check if you have become a casualty. This way you can act immediately and limit the damage that's done. There are identity theft protection plans
available for a small monthly fee or you can use a free service like those from Credit Karma
. You'll know if you've been a victim of identity theft if you notice a sudden decline in your credit score, if you receive bills for goods you never purchased, or if you receive calls from collection companies for accounts you never opened. Keeping your sensitive information secure should be a number one priority if you regularly use the internet and social media websites. You can enjoy the benefits of technology and avoid becoming a victim of identity theft at the same time.