Remember the days when Facebook was just a fun distraction? Well, those days are long gone. Facebook and other social media platforms have become a gold mine for people looking to take advantage of users’ personal information, including identity thieves. You may be revealing important information about yourself without even knowing it. Find out what thieves are looking for so you can protect yourself.
Be Careful What You Share On Social Media
So you post a picture of yourself on vacation for your friends to see—what harm could that do? As it turns out, it could do a lot of harm. Here are some ways thieves use information posted on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to steal your personal information:
Figuring out your passwords.
Admit it—your passwords are some combination of a birthdate, child’s or pet’s name, graduation year, or hometown. How can someone get this information about you? Probably from your Facebook page. Think of all the times you’ve posted about a child, pet, birthday, reunion, or another important event. A savvy thief can collect this information and may be able to figure out a financial account password or, even more likely, the answer to your security questions.
Knowing your whereabouts.
Posting from vacation? Your house must be empty. Checking in at a restaurant downtown? You must be out for the evening. Opportunistic thieves are looking for just this kind of information to take advantage of you.
Collecting key facts.
Those fun Facebook quizzes may be hard to resist, but these third-party apps are often just a tool to collect valuable information about you. Want to know what book you should read next? Ask a librarian—don’t give an unknown website key personal details!
While you can often protect yourself by adjusting your privacy settings, when you comment on public posts or link to outside sites, you open yourself up to identity theft.
Statistics Reveal the Danger
Still don’t believe you are jeopardizing your security by using social media? Check out these statistics from the 2017 Identity Fraud Study by Javelin Strategy & Research:
- Heavy social network users are at a 46 percent increased risk of account takeover fraud compared to non-social-network users.
- People who do a lot of online shopping are at the highest risk of fraud but tend to catch the fraud faster than brick-and-mortar shoppers.
- Digitally connected consumers who use mobile banking and peer-to-peer payment services like Venmo are at a 30 percent greater risk of fraud than non-connected consumers.
So should you stop using social media? That’s probably not necessary, but it is a good idea to check your account settings, avoid click-bait, and check your credit reports frequently!
When You Might Need the Cardoza Law Corporation
However your personal financial information was compromised, if there is damaging, incorrect information on your credit report because of identity theft and you are having a hard time getting a credit reporting agency to remove it, we may be able to help. Contact me online or call my office directly at 855.982.2400 to find out what I may be able to do for you.