Social networks have normalized sharing at a whole new level. People are more connected than ever in a shared online environment where information is in constant circulation. The downside of this is a greater risk that information can be misused by fraudsters who search the internet for data that may be valuable for their schemes. Here are three simple practices to keep personal information out of the wrong hands and reduce the risk of identity theft.
1. Limit the Information Shared.
Social media serves as a platform to highlight who someone is and where they are for the world to see. We live in a world where posting about daily whereabouts and happenings isn’t anything out of the ordinary. When it comes to sharing information that could be misused - such as a birthday, city of residence, workplace, phone number, etc. - it is better to be extra cautious. When possible, limit this information altogether or at least verify that security settings are in place to ensure sensitive information is only visible to those who have established a personal connection. For those who choose to share these types of details about themselves online, remember it’s ok to be vague. Instead of sharing your birthdate, give the month and day. Instead of publishing the city of residence to a profile, generalize by the region instead (i.e. Greater New York City Area).