These days, sharing everything online, from photos with your significant other to what you ate for lunch, has become the norm. Social media has created a culture of oversharing that spans generations; both your teenager and your grandmother are likely posting intimate details about their lives on one platform or another. However, just because it is common, doesn’t mean such behavior is safe. While it could open one up to a number of dangers, the one that concerns our law firm the most is the risk it poses to our clients’ identities.
Before you find yourself in need of an identity theft attorney in Miami, take some time to review your online presence for these signs that you’re sharing too much.
1. You Accept Friend Requests From Strangers
If you are opening your online social circle to people you don’t know, you are essentially placing a target on your back for identity theft. Limiting your “friends” to people you know, and know well, is key to avoiding sensitive personal details from being shared with criminals. Additionally, if you receive a request from someone you know you are already friends with, be sure to check in with that individual to make sure the profile is authentic. Scammers regularly recreate online accounts to trick users into hitting the “accept” button.
2. Your Privacy Settings Are Weak
Using caution when accepting requests won’t accomplish much if your social profiles are open to the public. One of the best ways to prevent identity theft is to utilize the privacy settings on social media. However, even when the highest privacy settings are applied, it is advisable to share as though your post can be seen by anyone. After all, with the fast-changing nature of technology, this could be true.
3. You Share Key Documents & Information
Scrolling through one’s social media feed can uncover a concerning number of posts like these: a teenager proudly displaying a new driver’s license or school identification card, a friend showcasing a passport before leaving for a trip, a family member posing with the check they just wrote for the downpayment on a new house. We understand that you want to share exciting events online, but you have to be careful about how you do so. It may seem harmless to post a 10-second snapchat image with personal information, but it could quickly lead to a stolen identity if it falls into the wrong hands.
4. You Share Details Tied to Security Questions
Whether selecting a security question for your social media profile or your personal bank account, it is absolutely essential to choose something with an answer only you would know. Here are some questions which could quickly backfire:
• What is your mother’s maiden name? If your mother has this information clearly displayed on her Facebook profile, and she’s listed as your mother under “relationships,” it will be easy for thieves to come up with this answer.
• Where did you go to high school? This is common information to display on one’s social media profiles, so maybe think twice about selecting this question.
• What is your grandfather’s nickname? While at first glance it seems like one of the more difficult questions, if you or others have referred to grandpa by the nickname in the digital sphere, it probably isn’t very secure.
• What was your first (fill in the blank)? The younger generation is known to document “firsts” online, so be careful about using your first car, job or even concert as a security question if a criminal could find the answer with a little digging.
5. You Are Opening the Door to Offline Targeting
You have probably seen this exact photo time and time again on your social timeline: A couple purchases their first house, and excitedly takes a photo in front of it. The action seems harmless, yet too often this photo includes a house number, or even a street sign. From there, a thief merely needs to scan your profile for a city and state, and he or she knows exactly where you live. While this fact is scary for a number of other reasons, the immediate concern for your personal identity lies in the thief’s ability to attempt to change your address, visit your home to rifle through your trash, or simply target you for mail phishing scams.
If you’ve had your identity stolen, the time to consult with a identity theft attorney in Miami is now. Schedule a free consultation with a knowledgeable lawyer on our team today to begin seeking justice.