With the increased global use of social media, there are more opportunities than ever for scammers to steal identities or perpetrate fraud online. It can even put your family at physical risk.
For example, did you know that your status updates posted on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and many other social media sites can be used by criminals?
If you post that you’re out of town on vacation, you’ve opened yourself up for burglary. If you mention that you’re away on business for a weekend, scammers know that you aren’t checking in on your accounts with your usual regularity.
When it comes to stalking or stealing an identity, the use of photo- and video-sharing sites like Flickr and YouTube provide deeper insights into you, your family and friends, your house, favorite hobbies and interests.
Your quick status update might inadvertently be giving away details to scammers which could be used to steal your identity.
How Can You Protect Your Information on Social Media?
Here are 4 ways can help avoid exposing yourself to identity theft risk on social media.
1. Stop sharing location or vacation updates. Tweeting about your vacations or posting photos when you’re out on the town lets thieves know where you’re not home. With that information, they could feel more emboldened to break into your home, steal valuables and root around for private information needed to steal your identity.
2. Stop providing password clues. The information you share on social media —birthplace, pet’s name, favorite hobbies — can be used by thieves to form a profile that can help them eventually steal your identity.
3. Decline friend requests from people you don’t know in real life. Accepting friend requests from strangers could give bad actors access to your information. While it may seem like the requester is friendly or important or interesting, accepting their request and making them a “friend” may entitle them to private information they shouldn’t have access to.
4. Be careful with quizzes and games they could – they can be revealing too much about you. There are all kinds of quizzes, tests and other games on social media. Be very careful with those because they may ask you for a lot of information. You can’t always be sure they aren’t a scam. Plus, you can’t always be sure how well they’ll safeguard your data once they have it.
Not sure if your information has been compromised? The best line of defense is to be proactive.
A service that actively monitors your identity and scans the dark web for your personal information is essential. You can receive alerts if your personal information is possibly at risk as well as identity theft insurance and restoration assistance if you do become a victim of an identity thief.