Identity Thieves Gather Data From Social Networks
Robert Siciliano Identity Theft Expert
There’s a lot of excessive trust in the Facebook world. People have entirely dropped their sense of cynicism when logged on. They have no reason to distrust. People who are your “Friends” are generally those who you “know, like and trust”. In this world, your guard is as down as it will ever be. You are in the safety of your own home or office hanging with people all over the world in big cities and little towns and never have to watch your back.
PC World reports a third of social networkers have at least 3 pieces of information posted on their pages that makes them potential victims of identity theft. They include names, addresses, birth date, mother’s maiden name, kid’s names, pets name, phone numbers, and other forms of data allowing a criminal to piece together your identity. Social networkers are simply making it too easy for a thief.
Almost 80 percent of those polled are concerned about privacy issues on social networks yet almost 60 percent are unaware of what their privacy settings are and who can see their data. One third of social networkers admitted they use the same password for all their social networking accounts.
Most social networks have privacy settings the users have never ventured to manage. It is imperative to spend a few minutes and lock down your profiles so they can’t be seen by everyone in the world.
When someone is targeted for identity theft it is not unusual for them to be “friended” by the thief posing as someone you may know, or is known by one of your real friends. Once you friend them they are in your trusted circle and can see even more of your daily musings.
People all the time try to “friend” me and they are “friends” with people I know. But I don’t know them. When I contact the real friend who is “mutual” to this person they often tell me that they don’t know the person but were “friends” with someone else they knew and accepted based on that!! THAT’S NUTS!!!
Next thing you know they are trolling through your “friends” and friending people in your network based on your real friends trusting you! Dizzy yet?
The point is STOP THE MADNESS! Don’t allow these trolls into your life if you don’t know who they are. Mom told you not to talk to strangers. I’m telling you not to friend a stranger because they could be a scammer.
Scammers are watching. They know that once they are on Facebook, your guard is way way down.
Regardless of all this craziness protect your identity.
1. Get a credit freeze. Go online now and search “credit freeze” or “security freeze” and go to consumersunion.org and follow the steps for the state you live in. This is an absolutely necessary tool to secure your credit. In most cases it prevents new accounts from being opened in your name. This makes the SSN useless to the thief.
2. Invest in Intelius Identity Theft Protection and Prevention. While not all forms of identity theft can be prevented, you can effectively manage your personal identifying information by knowing what’s buzzing out there in regards to YOU.
Personal Identity Profile – Find out if you’re at risk for identity theft with a detailed report of your identity information, including a current credit report, address history, aliases, and more.
24/7 Identity Monitoring and Alerts – Prevent identity theft with automatic monitoring that scans billions of public records daily and alerts you to suspicious activity.
Identity Recovery Assistance – Let professionals help you recover your identity if you ever become a victim of identity theft.
Robert Siciliano Identity theft speaker discusses Facebook scams on CNN