Identity theft is becoming rampant online. One type of ID theft that is often overlooked is social media identity theft. Thanks to social media sites like Facebook, connecting with family, friends, and long-lost contacts is now so much easier. Before, many childhood friends may have never seen each other again. With Facebook, now they can meet again in the same lifetime. However, if there’s anything bad that social media has brought, it is this: the individuals boundaries are so often dropped down, that they fail to see the ills of over sharing.
One big problem with over sharing is this: some of you social media users may fail to protect your identity, revealing certain crucial details that actually lead to ID theft once they fall in the wrong hands.
Here are some details that a social media user should NEVER share:
1. Birth year. It would be safer to just show your age, vanity be damned. In fact, if you’re so vain about your age, then you better not show any form of your birthdate at all. The birthdate is a detail needed in credit card and bank transactions, so if you unwittingly reveal it, you may have just failed to protect your credit online.
2. Mother’s maiden name. Another piece of data that could lead to ID theft is your mother’s maiden name. This is because the mother’s maiden name is actually a way to retrieve one’s password. It is also used in social security and bank data.
3. Your SSN. While the SSN is rarely required in applying for a social media account, you should still bear in mind that your SSN is never meant to be shared. In fact, the only person you should share your SSN with would be your company’s HR. Online social accounts don’t really require your SSN, so there is no reason for you to use this in social websites. However, if anyone ever tries to solicit your SSN from you, “run away” (by unfriending then blocking the person) and never look back.
These three pieces of data are best kept to yourself, if you’re looking to prevent identity theft.
If you feel like ID theft can never happen to you, think about this:
- A lady was traveling across Europe when she discovered that her credit accounts were stolen and broken into and USED by a credit card thief.
- An unwitting entrepreneur was just minding his own business when he discovered that a thief had used his company details to obtain several phone lines and cellphones.
- Over 140,000 children are victims of ID theft yearly.
With these alarming cases and statistics, you could never be too sure.
Here are ways that an ID theft will adversely affect you:
1. Your credit score could plummet.
2. It takes around 22 work days to clean up the effects of ID and credit theft.
3. It will take 6 years before items on your credit report would be removed.
When your credit score plummets, this is what happens:
- You will have a harder time getting approval for credit card applications.
- You will have a harder time securing an auto loan.
- You will have a harder time in securing a mortgage for your dream home.
With these consequences, you should already be alarmed and become wary about using your ID details on social networking sites.
Here are a few guidelines to deter social media identity theft:
- Don’t add strangers as your friends.
- Don’t approve strangers as your friends.
- Don’t even think that there’s a valid reason to give away your SSN.
- Don’t give out details to dates whether you meet them online or through a friend.
- Be wary of Craigslist posts. If you must meet people for Craigslist deals, do it in a public place with CCTV and don’t give out your credit and identity details. If it’s a cash transaction anyway, they won’t need any of that at all.
On the last point, it is worth noting that Craigslist has had a rise in being the portal for criminal activity in latter times. Thus, to keep yourself safe, take note of our tips above. Note that some of the Craigslist crimes have even included murder.
It is also worth noting that some very disappointed ID theft victims were exes of people they’ve dated. Some are even ex-spouses. You can never be too sure of who will steal from you. If close family members and even romantic partners could commit ID theft, how much more likely could strangers be that you’ve just met online?
Always be wary when it comes to social media identity theft. There really is no telling when someone will steal your identity and use it for their own purposes. Prevent identity theft, protect your credit online, and stay worry-free by following the tips we shared.
Check out our previous articles:
- 5 Social Network Insights that Help People Choose Better Cars
- Niche Advertising and Marketing: Zeroing in on your Target
- Social Media is a New Virtual Market! Know How?
- Content Writing and StumbleUpon Traffic Driving Strategy
- Powerful Landing Page Tips for Your Success
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About The Author
Amy Johnson is an active blogger who is fond of sharing interesting finance related articles to encourage people to manage and protect their finances. Know more on how to prevent email scams as internet identity theft is now a favored method of scam by id thieves.