Facebook Posts: Are You Just Giving Your Personal Info Away?

Media Division | May 10, 2017

Online identity theft has become a serious problem today.  According to TransUnion, 19 people fall victim to identity theft each minute, but most don’t quite know how to resolve identity theft issues. Companies can be ruined and family savings wiped out.

One of the most common online identity theft situations you can be faced with is cybersquatting and sale extortion.  It includes registering, trafficking in, or using your internet domain name with a bad-faith intent to profit from the goodwill of a trademark belonging to you.  The cyber squatter then offers to sell the domain to you or your company when you own it in the first place – basically, blackmail.

Another identity theft crisis you can face is online counterfeit product sales or illegal trademark usage. You as the rightful owner of the product can sue the person selling fake products using your trademark, under the Trademark Counterfeiting Act of 1984.  The trick is finding out who is the thief in this case as most of these operations are very well hidden.

Personal identity theft is the most prominent.  In this case, someone is pretending to be you online. Identity thieves can obtain your name, address, phone number, social security number, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, etc. These hackers use malicious software to obtain this data and proceed to drain your funds. In 2016, identity theft hit an all-time high with 15.4 million consumers affected and losses of over $16 billion dollars (credit.com).

Things You Can Do to Help Prevent Identity Theft

First of all, you can protect your phone and computer with a strong, up-to-date security software, and use strong passwords.

Second, learn to identify scams.  Some scams may look quite obvious while others are set up to seem very legitimate.  The safe thing to do here is never to click on a link that’s been sent to you.  If the link seems to be from your bank, for instance, it is safer to simply log into your bank account online through their website and handle the request from there.  This way you can be sure you’re not entering a fake copycat website.

Third, regularly monitor your credit and credit scores.  The things to watch for are any false information, including social security number, addresses etc., new lines of credit you didn’t apply for, or being denied for credit cards for no reason.

Why You Need to Protect Yourself on Facebook

Facebook has become a new avenue for thieves of identity fraud, so don’t let your guard down on this site.  The platform has turned into one of the easier ways for thieves to gather your personal information.  Criminals can hack into your account and spam your friends and family.  For instance, don’t fall for the more than common “I’ve lost my phone and need all your numbers” scam.  Whether in this case or otherwise, do not post your personal phone number.

Review your privacy settings and think twice before posting information.  For instance, posting your full birthdate and place of birth is like giving hackers the blueprint to your finances. Posting your mother’s maiden name is especially volatile since it’s a vital piece of data when it comes to accessing your accounts.

Giving away your home address on Facebook is likewise not a smart choice.  When you apply for a credit card, for instance, you’re asked for your name, address, and birthdate.  Additionally, posting when you’re going on vacation can be like announcing to a thief that your house is empty.  Keep your Facebook profile information at a bare minimum.

Get a free threat report to determine how vulnerable you may be to identity theft.  At Massive Alliance, we are not only equipped to handle all types of identity theft situations but can help you prevent such a crisis from occurring in the first place.

Massive's Media Division publishes timely news and insights based on current events, trends, and actionable cross-industry expertise.