Identity Theft In The 21st Century
In the past, cash and checks were the main form of payment and those cannot be stolen unless you were the victim of a pickpocketer. These forms of payment couldn’t be hacked from a computer and thus, as long as you kept your social security number (SSN) safe, you were safe from identity theft. However, in recent times with the rise of Facebook, online banking, and credit cards, it is now much easier to fall prey to identity thieves.
Facebook identity theft
Facebook is the largest social media website on the planet. People put everything on there, from their names to their addresses, phone numbers, and even their current location. In addition to this, a vast majority write who their relatives are and link their profiles together. So why is this a problem?
Remember that financial institutions use security questions to verify their customer’s identity. Most of these questions are along the lines of “What is your mother’s maiden name?” or “What did you name your first pet?” or even “Where did you go to elementary school?” All three of these questions are easily obtainable on one’s Facebook. If the person has their mother linked to their profile then the name can be pulled from there. Some Instagram pictures of a pet can lead to their names. Lastly, elementary school is readily apparent on people’s profiles right under the personal information section.
Facebook identity theft prevention
Now, don’t be scared though. It’s very easy to prevent someone from accessing your Facebook profile. Facebook has made it incredibly easy to adjust one’s privacy settings.
Make sure that your personal information is only visible to you or people you trust. In addition, do not add people on Facebook that you don’t know. With the privacy settings at a high level, someone looking at your profile cannot find anything useful unless you accept them as a friend.
Another way to shield yourself from these attack is to not put the information on there in the first place. Do not put information that you use for your security questions. If you use your pet’s name for your online banking, then do not put your pet’s name on Facebook. Being ahead of the curve with these identity thieves is your best bet to prevent your information from being hijacked.
Banking identity theft prevention
Just a last note on your online financial resources. Make sure that you are not logging in to your bank account on non-trusted networks. For example, refrain from logging in on your company WiFi, or the WiFi at your McDonald’s. These are unsafe networks because they aren’t monitored by anyone and thus lack the real security that one needs to be safe.
Try to log in on your carrier’s 4G network (normally these are safe), and at home. Even if one just follows these two simple rules with their Facebook and where they log in to their bank account, a huge threat is being diminished. With the entirety of bank accounts being online, it is more important now than ever to educate yourself about ID theft so you can spend your own money without worrying about it being stolen.
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