The Internet has given birth to a lot of services that have changed how people behave today. One of the biggest and most influential of these, if not the most, is social media. Social networks have forever changed how people interact and connect with peers, family and strangers. In fact, social media has created a new venue where people can represent themselves in front of a lot of other users. It drastically changes how people present themselves when they seek to meet new friends or to reconnect with old friends and family. On some level, it has made the world a smaller place.
These days, it is probably a lot easier for people to connect with people or be members of groups with the same interests, hobbies, inclinations or origins than doing it the conventional way or socializing all thanks to social media. However, despite making the world a much smaller place for socializing, it has also made the world a bit riskier. Now that people are more inclined to sharing information and details about their lives over the Internet, crooks may easily take advantage of this and steal such information to commit identity theft. This risk has given birth of the concept of social media identity theft.
In line with this growing concern, it is essential for people to understand what social media identity theft is and how it can be prevented.
How Does Identity Theft happen over Social Media?
Consumer risk management expert, Joel Winston noted that this new behavior of people in connecting with friends through social media is putting them in a lot of risks for identity theft. Winston observes, the new ways in which people can communicate with each other create new risks. When new technologies like new Internet services are being introduced to the public, it easily creates hype among the IT-literate population. Social networking sites welcome millions of sign ups, which means that the Internet’s information gateway is flooded daily with personal information.
Some of the most common personal information items being required to sign up in any social networking site are names, email addresses, and birth dates. When a new social media account is up in the system, people continue to share information that they often time see as safe to disclose. This is when identity theft is most likely to happen. Identity theft happens when a crook gets illegal access to someone’s personal information, and uses it to pretend to be that person in order to get some benefit by fraud. Once these crooks get hold of a person’s information, they could easily use these details to create mock-up credit cards. These fraudulent cards can allow them to make purchases while charging everything to their victim. This is known as cloning identity theft.
What can be done to prevent it?
When talking about identity theft in the social media, the key is to understand personal accountability of one’s personal information. The thing is, amidst all this hype about social networking sites, a lot of people are missing out on the realization that they are at constant risk. Thus, they miss out on the reality of how credit monitoring helps.
Basically, a person could share what he or she wants to share online. However, that person must understand what is suitable to be shared, and what types of information may put him or her at risk of id theft. While these social networking platforms have some security systems to protect people’s information, an individual should still have that sense of vigilance about being careful in disclosing things online. Sharing things about your life and representing yourself through these avenues can be cool, but protecting your privacy and identity should be the priority.
By John Benson