Posts are precious, tweets are terrific and likes are likeable. But just like any technology, social media can also be used for bad purposes, including identity theft. Here are 5 ways you may be exposing yourself to identity theft risk on social media.
1. Sharing location or vacation updates
If you tweet about your vacations or post photos when you’re out on the town, it lets thieves know where you’re not: home. With that information, they could feel more emboldened to break into your home, steal valuables and root around for private information needed to steal your identity.
What to do: Wait ‘til you get home.
2. Providing password clues
Hopefully your passwords for online sites are unique, complicated and not based on anything easily discoverable online. Even if they are, though, thieves can use the information you share on social media—birthplace, pet’s name, favorite hobbies—to form a profile that can help them eventually steal your identity.
What to do: Think about any personal information you put on social media, and keep your publicly visible profile bare.
3. Getting too “friendly”
It’s okay to be open to meeting new people. But don’t accept friend requests from strangers. While it may seem like the requester is friendly or important or interesting, accepting their request and making them a “friend” may entitle them to private information they shouldn’t have access to.
What to do: Ignore or reject friend requests from people you don’t know.
4. Fun and games
There are all kinds of quizzes, tests and other games on social media. Be very careful with those because they may ask you for a lot of information, and you can’t always be sure they aren’t a scam. Plus, you can’t always be sure how well they’ll safeguard your data once they have it.
What to do: Be careful with the data you provide to 3rd-party apps. If they’re asking for a lot of information or something seems a little off, exit it immediately.
5. Store credit (don’t)
Social media sites make it convenient for you to buy things on their sites, whether it’s letting you store your credit card information, link your card to your profile or use virtual currency. If an identity thief were able to get into your accounts through one or more of the above methods, they could have a very social shopping spree that, while not necessarily leaving you liable, might take a long time to clean up.
What to do: Be very careful every time you’re thinking of putting payment information in your social media account. Though it’s more of a hassle, enter your payment information every time (and only when) you’re buying something.
Bonus. Don’t just rely on all of the above
Should your information get into the wrong hands through social media, you’ll want to have another layer of protection in place.
What to do: Get TransUnion Credit Monitoring, which helps you protect against fraud with:
• TU Credit Lock, an exclusive tool you can use to lock and unlock your TransUnion credit report with a simple click or swipe
• 3-bureau monitoring and critical credit change alerts
• 24/7 access and UNLIMITED updates to your TransUnion credit report & score
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What You Need to Know:
There are various types of credit scores, and lenders use a variety of different types of credit scores to make lending decisions. The credit score you receive is based on the VantageScore 3.0 model and may not be the credit score model used by your lender.
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