Social Media Identity Theft

Apps for Social Media identity theftAre You Putting It All Out There Without Realizing the Risk?

Over 250,000 people add themselves to Facebook’s growing network each day. Thousands of others join Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and other sites without considering the possibility of social media identity theft. When you create a social media profile, you may be sharing more information than you intend with more people than you realize.

Social Media Ad Targeting

You probably realize there’s no free lunch, but most people don’t think about who’s footing the bill for all the fabulously free social media functionality. Sites like Facebook generate revenue by offering advertising opportunities. Specifically, the social media sites generate targeted advertisements based on the things you like, follow, and search for online. Social media sites encourage you to share information about yourself because it helps them build stronger marketing models. Some sites also track your online activity so they can offer more targeted ads.

The Smartphone Risk

A fraud report from Javelin Strategy & Research in 2013 indicated that smartphone users are 33 percent more likely to experience social media identity theft than others. Some social sites use geo-location to make your whereabouts public every time you post, increasing your risk substantially. Hackers and criminals can tell when you are traveling, will be away from home, or what your daily habits are. You can reduce this risk by turning geo-services off for your phone.

Tips Against Social Media Identity Theft

Participating in social media puts at least some of your information in the public domain, but you can reduce the risks of social media identity theft.

  • Begin with a common sense approach to what you share on social media sites. Never share account information, social security numbers, entire date of birth, or your phone number.

  • Lock your smartphone with a strong password or other security measures.

  • Be aware of privacy settings and read the terms of service carefully for each site you use so you understand where privacy may be at risk.

  • Create strong social media passwords and avoid friending the entire planet. If you are using social media as a marketing strategy, consider creating a separate account and avoid sharing personal information and pictures with your audience.

  • Safeguard any sensitive documents by shredding them as identity thieves start with information like social security and account numbers to begin fraudulent activity.

How do you protect yourself from social media identity theft?