Sure, Facebook and other social networking sites can be fun websites to hang out in — as long as you’re having a good, safe time. While the prime social networking site, Facebook, has instituted good measures to protect its users, id theft on social networking sites is still rampant, and it can happen to anybody.
Ever experienced your social networking service of choice sending out spam messages or posts? That’s one clear sign that your social networking site has been compromised. More than sending your friends spam messages or littering your wall with spam posts, getting hacked on a social networking site may expose you to the risk of identity theft. While a social networking site is fun, the effects of identity theft are, on the other hand, grim and grave.
Here are a few of the effects of identity theft:
* The thief could use your data to open new accounts.
* As the thief makes financial transaction using your personal data, your credit report could be affected.
* When your credit report is affected, your credit score could go down, and you may get bad credit as a result.
* When your credit scores are low and you are in a state of being in bad credit, you could be denied much-needed loans. Worse, job prospects and even promotions may elude you.
Thus, you have to make moves to prevent social networking id theft.
How to protect from id theft is simple. It could entail only these common-sense steps:
* Never reveal your SSN to anyone you meet online. There is no reason for you to reveal your SSN to friends, even relatives.
* Use a dating site to meet new people, but keep only friends and people you know in real life when using social networking sites like Facebook.
* Never click links in spam emails. Never click links in emails you are unsure of, even when they come from real-life friends.
* Use the social networking service’s security measures to protect yourself.
* Use a complicated password.
More than personal id theft protection on social networks; also use these measures with your email, as well as other transactions online. Never give out any form of important information to anyone online.
Avoid clicking links. If you must date, opt to meet people in real life and scrutinize the people you go out with. During the early stages of dating, never bring the person to your home.
Other, real-world ways to protect from id theft are even simpler:
* Always shred documents that contain important data items, such as your SSN, your credit card details, and even your health insurance number.
* Be vigilant about collecting and disposing of your mail properly: Collect mail every day, or every half-day, if it’s convenient for you. This way, the risk of being a victim of mail theft, which can lead to identity theft, is minimized.
* When using your credit card, always make sure that your card isn’t taken out of sight for too long. Always use VeriSign-protected websites when purchasing things online.
Facebook and the other social networking websites are actually safe places in general. If you can choose not to add your SSN, DON’T. If and when you get to click on links leading to websites that may ask for your SSN, just leave immediately. There is no reason for you to give it out, at all. Be wise. ID theft protection on social networks is a matter of being aware and healthily wary.
Take a look at the day’s top stories with anchor Sean McDonald.
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