Social Networking and Identity Theft?

by Christi on March 18, 2009


You have probably learned to use a little caution by now. You look both ways before you cross the street, you lock your doors at night. You buckle your seat belt. We all do things to protect ourselves every day.

Our friend, Herb Lawrence, ASBTDC Director, recently did a seminar where the subject of identity theft with social networking came up. This poses an interesting question, “Is identity theft something I should worry about when using social networking?” The answer to this is that you should use caution, not just with social networking but when emailing, putting things in your mailbox, throwing away your trash, etc. Whatever you do, don’t miss the incredible opportunities offered by social networking out of fear. Identity thieves look for targets. Make yourself less of a target online by using your privacy settings and not giving out information that could be used against you. Here are a few tips:

  • Never, ever give out your social security or driver’s license numbers
  • Consider unique user names & passwords for each profile
  • Vary your passwords and change them regularly
  • Don’t give out your username & password to 3rd parties (even if it helps you connect to others and build your network
  • Avoid listing the following information publicly: date of birth, home address, year of high school or college graduation, primary email address
  • Assuming you plan to be active in social media, minimize the use of personal information on your profiles that may be used for password verification or phishing attacks
  • For password security verification questions, use a password for all answers (rather than the answer to a specific question)
  • Watch where you post and what you say, as it can be used against you later.
  • Google yourself regularly and monitor your credit

You can also sign up with identity theft protection services as added protection. Just like everywhere else in life, use caution but don’t live in fear. Social Media is a great tool for business.

For LinkedIn members, I’ll start a discussion on this topic in the LinkedBusiness and the ProMarketers groups. If you are not on LinkedIn, check back here for updates.

One comment on “Social Networking and Identity Theft?

  1. Christi on said:

    Here is a link to information on privacy settings on Facebook that many will find useful: http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=57860339874&h=ANQtm&u=D54CC&ref=nf

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