Identity Protection: Social Media
The increased use of social media means more opportunities to steal identities or perpetrate fraud online, and there are a number of ways criminals can use this platform to wreak havoc on users.
We have fastly become a connected society, so much so that even our social lives are happening online. While no internet connection can ever replace the human element, social channels provide a casual way for geographically dispersed family members and friends to stay in touch more readily, but just as with any information collected and stored online, there’s the risk of identity theft.
The increased use of social media means more opportunities to steal identities or perpetrate fraud online, and there are a number of ways criminals can use this platform to wreak havoc on users: phishing attempts can be used to gain trust in order to obtain non-public information through online conversations, GPS-enabled phones sharing your location can reveal sensitive information like your home address, work address and the places you visit.
Any information you provide, such as your name, date of birth, hometown, pet names, interests and hobbies, nature of work, and home or office address are just some of the personal details that criminals can easily manipulate to commit fraud.
When posting information to a social network, a user probably expects authorized contacts to be able to view it. But who else can see it, and what exactly is visible?
Entities that collect personal information for legal purposes include:
- Advertisers interested in personal information so they can better target their ads to those most likely to be interested in the product
- Third-party software developers who incorporate information to personalize applications, such as an online games that interact with the social network
Engaging on social channels doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. You can still share aspects of your life with your friends if you take the proper precautions and use security tools and features.
Best Practices for Social Media Identity Protection
Perhaps this seems like common sense, but it’s a good idea to remember the following:
- Never share social security numbers
- Change passwords frequently
- Don’t publicly share your birthdate, hometown, or place of business
- Don’t store credit card information for third-party app purchases
- Only accept invitations from people you actually know and trust
- Check your privacy settings often. Privacy policies and default settings may change, particularly on Facebook
As the identity protection company, Legal Shred is committed to helping our business and residential customers safeguard their information. Subscribe to our monthly newsletters and blog to stay up to date on all the latest in identity protection and document destruction news.
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