Are You a Target for Identity Theft?


Did you know that your social media habits could put you at risk for identity theft? It’s essential to understand how to protect yourself and how to avoid catching a thief’s attention.

Weak Passwords

Is your password ‘password,’ your name, or something equally easy to guess? It’s time to change it up! Your passwords should be reasonably complicated with a mix of numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and special characters.

Do you have one password or a few passwords that you use for everything? Danger! Using the same password across multiple channels makes your account easy to hack. If you have trouble remembering lots of passwords, then consider getting a password manager.

Clicking on Unfamiliar Links

Here’s a good rule to follow: don’t click on links that are fishy in email, text, or on social media. But how to decide if something is questionable or not?

In email, text, and on social media:

  • Verify the sender as someone you know and/or are expecting a message from, such as a business
  • Verify the security token by checking to see if the URL begins with “https.”
  • Are there lots of grammatical errors or misspelled words? Don’t trust it!
  • Move your cursor over the link. Does the URL and displayed name match?

Finally, when in doubt, don’t click! No link is worth your identity being stolen.

Sharing too much

Some things are better kept private online. Don’t publicly share your home address, phone number, email, etc. With this basic information, an identity thief can dig up enough information on you to set up a fraudulent credit card account.   

It’s also wise to turn off geolocation tags on social media. It’s fine to tag a photo as being in a particular city, but some tags will actually show your home address! Check your social accounts, and be sure your location data is turned off.

Birthday celebration – for identity thieves

It’s so much fun to get birthday wishes online, but it can be an invitation for identity thieves to ‘party’ with your information. Want to get the well-wishes without the risk? Make sure you aren’t using your birthday in any of your passwords. You can also place a partial birthday – day and month only, leaving the year of your birth out – on most social media platforms.

Checking in too often

Checking in at the places and businesses you frequent the most gives identity thieves too much information into your personal life. Identity thieves are talented at taking lots of seemingly useless information and putting it all together to steal your money. Don’t make it easy for them by telling the world where you bank, shop, etc.

Know your friends

It’s fun to have lots of friends online, but it’s best to know who they really are. Identity thieves set up fake accounts which are then used for fraud attempts or scams. When you get a friend request from someone you don’t know, it’s best to decline.

The above tips will help you to keep your information safe from identity thieves. By being proactive now, you can save yourself from a lot of grief later.

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