Online Identity Theft - Stolen Password - Social Engineering
How to Prevent Social Media Identity Theft
The fastest growing type of fraud is Internet fraud. Email scams, phishing and hacking are only a few of hundreds of ways people can get access to your private information and use it for financial gain. Social media accounts are subject to threats of identity theft, just like online bank accounts or social security numbers. In some cases, social media identity theft is as simple as someone choosing your full name on social media websites and using it for fraud. The best thing you can do is be aware of the threat and monitor your online presence. Be aware of how social media sites operate and the potential pitfalls of using them irresponsibly. This article will tell you how to prevent social media identity theft.
Using Social Media Responsibly
Install theft protection software on all of the computers you use to access social media accounts.Make sure you update them regularly both at work and at home. Most experts suggest that this should be done at least weekly, especially with Windows operating systems (OS).
Make sure never to click the box to save your password when you are on a public, work or laptop computer.Many social media sites automatically check this box under your sign in, so be vigilant about making sure it is never saved. If it saves, it may automatically bring up your account the next time someone else goes to that social media site.
Use your real name whenever you sign up for social media accounts.Try to use your full name both in the username and in the profile columns, to prevent anyone else from taking that account and using it to impersonate you. Treat your name like it is your brand, and try to protect it from illegal usage whenever you can.
- Some people have very common names. If you cannot have your exact name, then try placing a "." between your first and last name. You can also include your middle name, middle initial or your profession in the username, if that helps to distinguish you apart from others with the same name.
Avoid giving out personal information on social media sites, such as address, phone number or your birth date.Identity thieves can open accounts and commit a number of financial crimes with just this information. You can decide if you want to use a profile picture, but try to make it a likeness that you can also use as a brand, and look for anyone else that tries to use it.
Change your privacy settings on all your social media accounts, so that you have control of all the information that is posted.Set your profile to private, and make sure you have to approve any friend requests, comments, photo tags, links or posts that appear on your page.
- Be very discerning about who you accept friend requests from. Some thieves create accounts in order to grab information off accounts. Make sure you know everyone you are friends with, and frequently delete friends who you have no further desire to have contact with.
Type in the name of the social media site, or use a bookmark, instead of clicking on email links.New and successful social media scams create emails that are tailor made to look like they are directly from a social media provider. Always assume it is not, and go to the site directly to see if you have a message.
Create complicated passwords when you sign up for social media accounts.Many experts suggest using a sentence that includes a number and only makes sense to you. Change your passwords to social media accounts every 1 to 3 months.
Never give out your travel plans over social media sites.In many instances, social media thieves have become actual thieves, taking this data and using it to rob people when they are out of town. Never be specific about where you live or when you are out of the house.
Avoid using online applications on social media sites, or the Internet in general, that require access to your personal or profile information.Unless you intend on reading through their entire terms and conditions policy, you do not know where your information is going. Many companies sell the information they take off people using their free application to businesses or private individuals.
Use extreme caution when opening links on social media sites.Even your friends can have their identities stolen on social media sites and post links that lead thieves to retrieve your personal information or hack your computer.
Go through these social media guidelines with your children.Although many young people are more adept at navigating the Internet, they may not fully understand the implications of posting private information, photos or potentially offensive material on the Internet. They may have to face even more adept social media thieves in the future, so prepare them well for the task.
Managing your Online Reputation
Set up a free Google Alert for your name, and the name of your spouse or dependents.After setting up a Gmail account in your name, go to the "More" tab on the top Google toolbar, which lists all the options Google provides, including Google Alerts. Set it to search for everything related to your name once per week, or more often if you fear identity theft has recently taken place.
Sign up for a free account with Steprep.com, a service that manages your online presence even better than Google Alerts.You can check your account, and then refer back to it to manage how you appear online. This can help you to see social media identity problems early on, as long as you refer back to it on a regular basis.
Take the initiative and try to register accounts with all the major providers in your first and last name.You are reserving them, and you may want to retain a list of them in a well hidden place, but you can also use them in the future. You should include all the free email providers and social media websites that you can think of.
- If you don't have time to do this, go to Knowem.com and pay to have the service sign up for accounts at 120 top social media sites. This will take a small amount of time in the beginning, but save you time in the long term. You will have to supply some information. After that, knowem.com will manage your accounts.
Boost your presence online, by actively taking part in an online forum, blog or social media account.You can control your reputation by being an active participant online, instead of waiting for someone to use your account. Try to show a positive, creative personality online, and avoid religious, political or offensive material.
Report potential identity theft complaints to your federal government.If you are in the United States, go to www.ic3.gov to report Internet-based fraud.
QuestionHow can we prevent bullying on social media?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerDon't give attention to the bullies, just ignore it. Bullies love attention and if you don't give it to them, they'll move on to bothering someone else.Thanks!
- Some hackers use the "Forgot your Password" link in order to break into your account. Make sure your security question is not something that could be easily found, such as your mother's maiden name, your birth date or the city where you were born. Make up your own questions, or make up the answers so scams cannot use your personal information against you.
- Tell your friends directly, by phone or in person, if you believe their social media or email accounts have been hacked. They may not be aware of it, and they should report it immediately.
Video: How To Prevent Social Media Identity Theft
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