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Reducing Social Media Identity Theft: What NOT to Post (or have in your profile)

N*O*T*H*I*N*G Online is Private!

Sharing exciting moments in our life is wonderful, but there is no reason to help the cyber criminals to your information.  Even by limiting your account to people you know; other people may share your posts with strangers.  Here are some tips to help reduce the chance you will be a victim of social media identity theft.

Obvious - Don’t Post Your:

  • Date of Birth
  • Telephone number
  • Home address
  • Email address
  • Driver’s License, Passport or Credit Card info

Not So Obvious – Don’t Post Your:

  • Mother’s maiden name.
  • Children’s birthdays/birthdates – stealing children’s information to open credit cards, loans, etc. is on the rise. A child won’t realize what has happened until they are over 16 and in the market for a credit card or bank account.
  • Travel Plans – this is vital to prevent people from knowing that you won’t be home. Wait until you have returned.
  • Live Location Data – another key to prevent people from knowing you’re not at home.
  • Images of you in front of your house or neighborhood. It is easy to identify the location.
  • Images that depict your job, hobbies, family and friends. Just be cautious with this one. This information may often reveal the answers to security questions used to reset passwords, making you an easy victim by giving malicious actors easy access to your accounts and secured information.  Think about the answers to security questions you’ve set across your accounts.  What is your best friend’s name?  What is your pet’s name?  Posting an image captioned with, “Me and my best friend Michael” is an invitation to a cyber criminal.
  • Vaccine cards – may contain your birthdate.

Other Hints:

  • Tempting, but do not use your social networking website to login to other sites. If that website becomes compromised, then all accounts associated with that website are vulnerable. Create a different user account on each website.
  • Change your social media privacy settings to limit who can see your posts.  Even though it won’t prevent resharing, at least you’re not sharing to the whole world.