Social Networking Sites – An Easy Catch For Identity Thieves

Social Networking Sites – An Easy Catch For Identity Thieves

Millions of people worldwide subscribe to social networking sites.  Famous sites boast for their huge membership. Registration process of these sites requires you to provide basic personal details about you. That’s fine. However, when you proceed to create a web page on your account, you are tempted to give more personal information which you would not have given to strangers. 

Your page is open for viewing to all the users and anyone can pick up important details from there.  If you enter the details like date of birth, place of work, your mother’s maiden name and names of spouses or partners, they are all strategic ones and they would not have been available to strangers so easily otherwise. 

On the basis of this information, thieves may be able to impersonate.  They may also be able to guess your passwords.  In addition, you may get some phishing e-mails.  If you inadvertently respond to such e-mails, you may be furnishing valuable details to the thieves.

If you want to minimize the risk of fraud, there are very simple strategies –

1.    You should only use your first name on an alias instead of your full name on these sites. Your friends should be interested in your first name!

2.    You can always share information with others but try to avoid posting your phone numbers or workplace information or names of your family members or nearest relatives.

3.    When you register for social networking sides, open a new email account and provide it for registration purposes.  This e-mail account should be different than your normal account so that you can avoid all junk mail in your normal account.

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4.    You should ignore requests from strangers to be your friend.

5.    You should not open e-mails unless and until you are sure about the sender.  There are many e-mails sent in the name of reputed financial institutions asking for your personal details and pin numbers.  It is always advisable to delete these mails even without opening them. The banks never ask your information through mails.

6.    Customize your settings – You should set your privacy settings in such a manner that the strangers will have a limited access when they view your profile.

There is nothing wrong in participating in social networking sites.  That is part of your social life.  However, by being smart you can avoid providing strategic details and clues about your identity.  That will save you from all future headaches and perhaps thousands of dollars.