We all know that social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and family, but it can also be a hotbed for identity theft. If you’re not careful, a thief could easily gain access to your personal information—and once they have it, they can do some serious damage.
The average loss for the 24 million households that have experienced an “account takeover” was $12,000.
So how can you protect yourself? Below are five ways to prevent identity theft on social media. Be sure to put them into practice the next time you log on!
1. Don’t post personal information.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people post their addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, and even Social Security numbers on social media. Do yourself a favor and keep this information to yourself; if a thief does happen to get ahold of your account, you don’t want them to have easy access to all of your personal info.
2. Don’t friend or follow strangers.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution when it comes to social media friends and followers. If you don’t know someone in real life, there’s probably no reason to friend or follow them on social media. Chances are they’re just looking for information they can use to steal your identity.
3. Be aware of phishing scams.
Phishing scams are when criminals pose as trustworthy sources in order to get you to hand over sensitive information. They might send you an email that looks like it’s from your bank, for example and ask you to click on a link and enter your login information. Or they might pose as a friend or family member in need of money and ask you to send them funds via Venmo or Paypal. Either way, never click on links or enter information unless you’re 100% sure that the source is legitimate.
4. Keep your privacy settings high.
Every social media platform has different privacy settings, so take some time to familiarize yourself with the options for each one you use. For example, on Facebook, you can control who can see your posts, while on Twitter, you can choose to make your account private so that only people who follow you can see your tweets. The more private you can make your account, the better—that way, only people who you trust will have access to your information.
5. Don’t reuse passwords.
This is important for all of your online accounts, not just social media ones—but it bears repeating here nonetheless. If a thief gets ahold of one of your passwords, they could potentially use it to gain access to other accounts as well (including vital ones like your bank account). To prevent this from happening, make sure all of your passwords are unique and difficult to guess—and never write them down in an easily accessible place, like on a sticky note next to your computer!
Now that you know how easy it is for thieves to steal identities on social media, it’s time to take action! Follow the tips above next time you log onto Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or any other platform—and rest assured knowing that your identity is safe and sound.
Please share these tips with your friends on Social Media to help them protect their identities as well. You can use the share buttons below. I really appreciate you helping spread the word about my Free Daily Tech Tips! 🙂