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Identity Theft and Fraud: The Hidden Dangers of Social Media

Identity Theft and Fraud: The Hidden Dangers of Social Media

Millions of people use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn on a daily basis. People share everything on these sites, including key personal information used by identity thieves. The rise of social media has had a huge effect on the information available to us about others online.

Identity theft has become a big problem in America, with as many as 10 million Americans being affected every year. You may be surprised to hear that younger generations are actually more at risk than older generations, with college students being at particularly high risk. One of the reasons for that is the rise in social media sites.

How is Social Media Putting You at Risk?

You may be wondering how something as seemingly harmless as connecting with friends online can put you at risk of becoming a victim of identity theft. The problem is that many people give out too much personal information online. Others can use this information to steal your identity. Avoid sharing your date of birth, phone number, address and social security number online.

Having your address available online can leave you at further risk of having your home burgled. You should never post about vacation dates or the fact that you are going out of town. Thieves will pounce on the opportunity to burgle an empty home.

Use Privacy Settings

When creating an online profile, always be sure to take a look through the privacy settings. There is some information which is best kept to yourself, or your friends only at a minimum. Social media sites regularly go through updates, so be sure to always check that your privacy settings are still in place following any updates or changes to the site.

Be Careful About Accepting Friend Requests

It may be tempting to accept all friend request that come your way, but you should be wary about who you let in on your profile. If the person sending you a request is a complete stranger to you or you have only met them once or twice, be careful about adding them to your friend list. If you would not be comfortable sharing personal information with them face to face, then you should re-think accepting their request.

Use the Right Software

You should make the most of theft protection software and install it on any computers you use to access social media sites. With thieves always coming up with new scams, it’s best to regularly update them to ensure they are kept up to date to offer you maximum protection.

Password Protection

Always be sure to use a strong password for any social media account. The best way to do this is to include numbers, upper and lower case letters, symbols and at least 8 characters. Avoid using passwords which are easy to guess such as your mother’s maiden name or pet names. You should always be careful when using a public computer, by ensuring you do not save passwords on the computer and always log yourself out when you finish.

Social media sites should be enjoyed by everyone, so stay safe and don’t put yourself at further risk of identity theft.

About Viet N.

Legal analysis with a focus on cases in Florida. Dedicated to a fair and just legal system.