Identity thieves operate in every corner of the internet, and social media platforms are an easy starting point in their mission to compromise their victims’ identity and financial security.
Social media users often overshare personal information online, with the data accessed or viewed by friends and strangers alike.
Statistics show that consumers with an active social media presence are 30% more likely to fall victim to identity theft. Use of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat alone can raise risks by 16%, according to identity theft figures.
While a prominent social media presence isn’t necessarily bad, neglecting your online security and careless data exposure significantly increase your risks of becoming an identity thief’s next target.
Data, no matter how insignificant it may seem, should never be taken for granted. Whether it’s a photo of you having lunch at your favorite restaurant, your birth date, email address, or cell phone number, cybercriminals can use this information to compromise your identity.
Sharing personal information is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it enriches your user profile, allowing others to get to know you better, but it also increases the chances of malicious individuals targeting you.
To help you make better choices and protect your identity online, we’re highlighting six essential tips to help you prevent identity theft while using social media:
- Protect your social media accounts with strong, unique passwords, and enable two-factor authentication. Change passwords for any account with the same login credentials if one accounts is hacked
- Be careful what you share and post – data you share on social media will never go away, even if you delete your account, so think twice before sharing a photo or any information that could harm you long term
- Never give out personally identifiable information via social media – don’t give freebies to cybercriminals and fraudsters. Keep your email address, friend list, phone number, education and work background private
- Review your privacy settings often and make sure you use them – security and privacy settings on social networking platforms can change. Customize them to make sure your profile and the content you share won’t be viewed by strangers
- Be careful who you interact with, and don’t click on any unsolicited links – the links you interact with on social media can be part of a phishing campaign designed to steal your financial information
- Use a security solution and identity theft protection service to safeguard your data and receive alerts if your data ends up in the wrong hands or is used to commit fraud
Pro tip: Use Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection to track suspicious activities regarding your social media and financial accounts. Once you enroll and fill out the necessary information, our service will monitor your social and financial accounts for data breaches and suspicious activity so you can limit the financial and emotional cost of identity crimes. You get instant alerts, lost wallet assistance and identity monitoring over the dark web and access to a dedicated resolution specialist to help you restore your identity in case of compromise.
You can check out Bitdefender Identity Theft Protection in the standalone version or bundled with Bitdefender Ultimate Security, our new top-tier security and privacy pack – available for the US only.
If you’re a non-US social media user who wants to limit your chances of compromise and identity theft, opt for our Bitdefender Digital Identity Protection service to discover the extent of your digital footprint, detect social media impersonators and stay on top of data breaches, links and privacy threats.