How information on Facebook and Twitter can lead to identity theft
John Matarese, firstname.lastname@example.org
5:37 PM, Jun 17, 2013
4:26 PM, Jun 18, 2013
Social media has its benefits. But there's one downside to using Facebook and Twitter that's giving thieves a new way to steal your identity.
Identity theft is pretty common, and isn't considered a "new problem." But social media has made it much more prevalent -- and much easier to fall for.
More than 11 million people have their identities stolen every year.
Even if you delete your Facebook account, turn off Twitter and cut yourself off from social media, there's probably still enough information about you out there to help the bad guys access your financial life.
Lauren Mirsky was an ID theft victim, and says it's something you never want to have to deal with.
"The first time it happened, the credit card company called me when they thought there was suspicious activity on the card," Mirsky said.
But she said social media made the theft of her identity even easier.
Cyber thieves look for tidbits of information online to figure out what your confidential passwords could be.
This includes your full name, your birth date, your children's names, your hometown, your mother's maiden name, the schools you've attended and your address.
Make sure you never include any of this information on your Facebook page and Twitter account.
Another tip: Keep your pets names private if they might be one of your passwords. Also, beware of apps.
Free games and quizzes seem like fun, but typically their purpose is to suck up information about you and your friends.
Another trick: Personality quizzes on Facebook. Many are set up by identity thieves to get personal information about you.
Finally, check your Facebook page and make sure you have set the privacy settings to limit what the general public can find out about you.
And never include your exact birthday, so that you stay safe and don't waste your money.
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