Since social media users, have increased to perform different tasks like marketing, posting for fun, advertisements, etc. On the other end, cybercriminals are developing new strategies to implement social media identity theft. It is now a big issue, and it is the role of every social media owner to protect himself or herself from this menace.
Protecting your social media accounts will save you from facing jail terms, facing bad credit history, losing funds, losing your job, etc. It is better to follow and implement the practices below and clearly understand the risks of identity theft.
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What is Identity theft?
Identity theft happens when cybercriminals take the personal details of someone from security numbers, bank accounts number, Driver’s license numbers, Employer Identification Numbers, credit and debit cards, etc., to use them for crime-related activities and damage someone’s finances and reputation. After getting the details, they make unauthorized purchases; ask for donations from your friends, etc.
Risks of identity theft?
The common risks associated with social media identity theft include the following:
They use your personal information to perform different actions like opening new bank accounts where they later get loans, making you fall into debt, ruining your credit history, banks denying you mortgages and loans, inability to open new accounts, and wasting a lot of time trying to repair the ruined money history.
They can use information as if Social Security numbers to seek employment and even evade paying taxes. The authorities will come after you after a specific time, and you may end up in jail.
It can lead to an emotional breakdown where you do not feel good. Losing your personal information can lead to more anger, stress, anxiety, becoming suicidal and make you lose your appetite or get enough sleep.
You may lose your job when authorities realize that someone else has a job using your information, and you may be blocked from getting new jobs.
You may suffer from health complications when cybercriminals use your social security number to get medical assistance from their end, leaving you with no benefits. When you visit a hospital or emergency, you realize you no longer have medical benefits.
You risk being banned from social media platforms where you cannot create new accounts or use existing ones due to suspected fraud.
Hackers can use the details to create more social media accounts using fake details that impersonate you. They can later them used to ruin your online reputation, which can make you lose your job.
9 Ways on How to Keep Your Information Private on Social Media
One must take different actions to safeguard their social media accounts from identity theft. It affects both brands and individuals. The common practices will not take a lot of time for you to implement, all you need is patience and practicing them daily. Most victims of identity theft become sick, stressed, and lose their jobs, amongst other effects.
1. Use strong passwords and store them wisely
Weak passwords are vulnerable and give cybercriminals an easier time accessing your accounts. Strong passwords should have more than ten characters, special characters, and numbers and start with a capital letter. Hackers struggle to crack strong passwords when accessing your account.
Avoid using weak passwords like full name, year of birth, the school you went to, etc. Cybercriminals will have an easier time cracking your password and could get your sensitive information. Hackers use brute force attacks to guess passwords several times, and you may be a victim.
Ensure each social media account has its password. Avoid using the same password. Look for a reliable and trustable password manager to help you store passwords for each social media account to prevent hackers from accessing your passwords.
2. Use privacy settings
Social media platforms provide privacy settings allowing users to hide information from the public. During account creation, you provide personal information like full name, schools attended, birthday date, location, place of work, favorite movies, hobbies, etc. Suppose you fill in all this information and let it be public. You will likely be hacked as the cybercriminals have a lot of information about you. Privacy on social media is necessary nowadays as hackers try to capture the details if it is shared in an insecure way or exposed to publicly.
It is good to set such details privately if you fill them in. For those who do not like such issues they leave it blank. You can also limit the people who can view your accounts, send requests, and see your posts.
3. Delete unused accounts
There are events where you find yourself having old accounts. Ensure you do not leave them hanging and delete them. It will eliminate the chances of you having your personal details in a data breach. It will also keep your current social media accounts safe from hackers.
4. Stop location tagging
When making a post like posting photos, a video, or writing an essay. Social media platforms ask if you want to include your live location. Always avoid including your location, as hackers can track you down and steal personal information. Always ensure the location feature is off.
5. Accept connection only from the people you know
Social media is a strange place, and not all users are genuine. When you get any friends or followers requests, analyze them to ensure they are people you know. If you accept all requests without proper research, you may be connected to hackers.
They will later use different methods and send you links, fake job posts, and rich quick scheme promotions. If you fall for any trap by clicking on the links, your account is hacked, losing it forever, giving them access to your sensitive information.
6. Use of security questions
Several platforms allow users to set security questions as an extra security feature. If it has it, use them to keep your account string. Avoid using the usual questions and go for the hard ones. It will give a hacker a hard time bypassing them when they try to access your accounts.
7. Visit secure websites
Ensure the websites you visit are safe and well protected from hackers. Hackers can create phishing pages for famous brands, and you may become their victim. Ensure the website has an SSL certificate like multi domain SSL, single domain or wildcard SSL certificate.
8. Implement Two-factor authentication
A two-step verification requires the users to provide two or more types of identification for them to get access. Two-factor authentication adds extra security where it requires one to add a code after inputting their password. The code can be in the form of an OTP or code from the authentication applications like Google and Authy.
9. Check your credit history
Always visit your credit statements to ensure the records are ok. Hackers can use your details, create bank accounts, and borrow loans. The loans can make you not get loans and other credit services. Checking your reports will ensure your accounts are safe, and in case you see any details that may look suspicious, take action by reporting for the right actions taken before it is too late.
Social media security is the responsibility of everyone. You must practice the above measures to safeguard your sensitive information. Hackers are on the rise, taking down accounts every day. In case of an attack, take the necessary actions to ensure your information is safe.