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Consumers Need Keep Social Comments Close to Chest to Avoid Identity Theft

Have you considered the unfortunate event of identity theft?  A Washington Post article directs attention to a recent report; 36 million people experienced ‘breaches’ in 2011.  A security breach doesn’t guarantee someone adopts your identity; but, it’s not a great situation to be in:

“Those who suffer data breaches are 9.5 times more likely to be victims of identity fraud than are other consumers.” – Javelin Strategy and Research

How rampant is fraud?  It inconvenienced and preyed upon 11.6 million last year (a 13 % increase).  What kinds of fruits do frauders choose to purchase with your labor?  (Cars, Apple cellphones, novelty items, or they open new credit card accounts.)

Javelin Strategy and Research has looked into identity fraud for some time but considered social media and mobile phone usage for the first time this year.  A proliferation of trails enables snoopers to piece identity puzzles together much easier.  There was a time when thieves had limited inroads to our information; high usage of social media sites and mobile phones lowers the amount of energy needed to secure your information.

Javelin reported the highest number of incidences occurring with people who use LinkedIn, Google, Twitter, and Facebook regularly (some of the most popular sites on the Web- especially for the online marketing industry).

Javelin found:

  • 68% of people with public profiles shared b-day info (with month/day specifics)
  • 63% shared name of their high school
  • 18% showed phone number
  • 12% named their pet

Perhaps separated, a few facts here and there seem innocuous; however, pool all the elicited information (from available social sources) together; and, a hacker could figure out a lot about you (maybe enough to become you).

Another frightful insight – how secure are your passwords?  Hackers know it’s annoying to maintain a number of them and many of us get ‘sloppy.’  Thieves figure one hacked password may open multiple online doors.  Do you have duplicate passes?  Additionally, are you ‘tipping’ thieves off regarding them?  From Washington Post:

Think about the details of your personal life you’re posting. Are you revealing your likes, dislikes, favorite foods, hobbies? You may think these details are insignificant, but they can be opportunities for people skilled at mining such information to guess your passwords.

The article brings other self-defeating actions to mind, such as leaving your phone idle in public.  How many self-defeating actions are you taking part in?  The Post links to this consumer-fraud safety quiz.

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Todd Bailey is a Digital Consultant, SEO/SEM/SMO/Analytics and In-House SEO Consultant at INetU. Visit Todd's personal blog at pushStar.com. On twitter @push_star
3f65fa935ca577888a6b2361b3e1d09d 64 Consumers Need Keep Social Comments Close to Chest to Avoid Identity Theft
3f65fa935ca577888a6b2361b3e1d09d 64 Consumers Need Keep Social Comments Close to Chest to Avoid Identity Theft

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