According to a 2012 Javelin Strategy & Research report on identity fraud,
nearly 12 million Americans were victims of identity theft last year. This is an
increase of 13 percent compared to 2011. One area that the report notes is
increasingly putting consumers at risk is social media. Even though warnings
state that social media outlets are a great resource for identity thieves,
consumers continue to share personal information that can be used to validate
consumers in taking action, Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North
offers five tips to help them protect their identities while using social media
Use strong passwords
that no one can decipher, and keep it a secret. Do not use kids, pets,
or husband/wife names because someone can guess and check those easily. Also,
never share your password with others. You are in control of your account;
therefore you should be the only one that manages
Take advantage of the
privacy options and established safety features on social media sites.
When completing an online profile, most sites will allow you to
select what information is public and private. Review the settings carefully,
making sure to designate as much personal information private so that only
invited friends can see it.
Be cautious when
clicking links on social networking sites. Clicking on links or
even pictures can lead to viruses, or other malicious code being installed on
your computer. Always know who the information is coming from; if you are
unsure, avoid clicking on it.
Use a web browser with
higher security. Tracking while browsing
on the Internet has become an increasing concern as ID fraudsters look to gain
the upper hand. Use browsers with advanced security, or install a high-security
browser plug-in or do-not-track feature. Doing so will help reduce the risk of
your activity being followed.
Report any incidents
where your information may have been breached. Most social networking
sites offer an option to report suspicious activity. Do not hesitate to utilize
this tool if you have concerns regarding your personal information.
media outlets continue to increase in popularity, so too does the risk of
identity theft by unscrupulous individuals,” says Toby Barfield, president and
CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “It is more important than ever to
control and protect the personal information you divulge to the
assist consumers in protecting their identities, BBB will
host its semi-annual “Secure Your ID” Day on Saturday, April 21, 2012. The event
takes place from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Coastal
Federal Credit Union headquarters on St. Albans Drive in Raleigh. Participants are encouraged to bring up to three boxes or bags of
sensitive documents that have been removed from binders. Additional event
information is available at www.easternnc.bbb.org/secure-your-id.