Social media is taking the world by storm and opening up new avenues for people to connect and reach out to one another without ever having to leave their homes. As of 2016, 78% of Americans have a social-media presence, and many actively use social-media sites to connect with family and friends. While social media has many benefits, it has also opened up new opportunities for fraudsters to steal identities. In 2013, a new identity fraud victim was affected every two seconds. Knowing how to protect yourself from these predators is crucial. Here are three tips you can try.
Customize Privacy Settings to Allow Only Trusted Individuals
Fortunately, almost all social-media networks give their users the ability to customize their own privacy settings to match their needs. Lock down your social-media profile by changing your settings so that only specific individuals can access your profile. Make sure the site allows you to clearly define who is considered a trusted individual. If someone you haven't included in your trusted list attempts to access your profile, the social-media network should notify you and ask you for your permission first.
On the same note, you should also only allow people you know to access your profile. This might include immediate and extended family members, high school or university friends you met years ago, and your co-workers. If someone you don't know requests to see your profile, make sure you know them before giving them permission. If you don't know who it is, don't let them in. For all you know, they could be trying to steal your identity.
Exclude Important Personal Information
Don't put everything about yourself out there on your social-media profile. This makes it easy for predators to assume your identity or even figure out who you are if they do a little digging. You should always exclude information like your phone number, your address, past schools you've attended, and other information that can be used to identify you easily from social-media profiles. Your friends won't need to know this information, as they probably already have it. If they don't have it and need it, they can contact you for it.
Don't only exclude your own personal information. You also want to be careful with providing too much information on others around you. For example, if you have children, you might want to avoid providing details like your children's ages and where they go to school.
Use Different Passwords for Different Social-Media Accounts
Hackers looking to steal your identity may even try to hack their way into your social-media profile. To protect yourself, use different passwords for each social media account you have. You most definitely want to make sure that this password isn't the same one you use for online banking. Using different passwords help minimize the damage of successful hacks, as your other accounts won't get compromised.
Put some effort into choosing a strong password. Don't use passwords that consist of a few letters or a few numbers. You'll also want to avoid using passwords that hold some type of significance in your life. Try to make your passwords as hard to guess as possible.
Cyber identity theft is becoming a huge problem. Many Americans simply don't know that their identities are in danger and also don't know how to protect themselves until it's too late. Be wary of what you put on social-media sites, and lock down and secure your profile to prevent predators from gaining access. You don't want to become an unknowing victim of identity theft. Talk to a company such as Silent Security 1 for more information.