Social Networking and Identity Theft

Billions of people use social media networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and more.

Many people share lots of information about themselves and sometimes that can give fraudsters what they need to scam you, specifically to steal your identity.

Identity theft is where a fraudster acquires confidential information about you – sufficient that she can access your online accounts, take out credit cards or loans in your name, commit crimes and use your name etc.

This can be a devastating experience for some and once your identity has been stolen it’s very difficult to reclaim it without a lot of help.

How Identity Theft Can Happen Through Social Networking

To make full use of social media you need to divulge information about yourself but you should be aware of the following risky activities:-

  • In Settings – choosing privacy to be “low”
  • Accepting invitations to connect from unknown people
  • Downloading free APPS – games etc.
  • Sharing your password
  • Clicking on links that lead you to other websites, even if the link was sent to you by a friend or posted on your friend’s profile
  • Clicking on links in phishing messages or replying to them

E.g. A woman receives a message from one of her friends on social media recommending a cat video for which there is a link. She trusts her friend so clicks on the link, but it doesn’t bring up a video. She didn’t know that her friends profile had been hacked and taken over and the link was to a malicious website. A computer virus has  now downloaded to her computer from that website.

She later finds that emails have gone out in her name to all of her contacts asking them to click on the malicious link.

Be aware and stay safe.

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