Social networking sites like Facebook have become targets for identity thieves, as so much personal information about our lives has been made public. But you may be putting your friends at risk of ID theft without even realizing it, even if you are making sure that your own Facebook profile is void of private information. The messages you leave on your friend’s walls, and the comments you leave on their photos could make the job of identity thieves even easier.
Changing your privacy settings on Facebook is not only important for your account but also for your friends too.
Telling your friends to enjoy their vacation
It seems fairly harmless to let your friend or family member know that you wish them well on their upcoming trip on their Facebook wall, but you are also announcing to the world that no one will be at their house for a few days. And with all the other information already available on Facebook, it’s not hard to find out just where that person lives. Revealing to everyone that a house will be vacant and vulnerable on a specific date is just putting someone else at risk, so if you want to give them your blessing before they go, do it in a personal message and not on a public wall.
Tagging your friend’s in photos without their permission
Our photos tell a lot about us, but sometimes a photo may misrepresent us as well. But since your friends can tag you in any photo they like, it can lead to some open loopholes in your personal security. You should adjust your settings to tagged photos are only visible to that person only and not to the entire community in Facebook, which is pretty much the whole world right? And with facial recognition technology being introduced to Facebook it will be even easier for unethical people to find out who you are and find any other pictures of you and your family online. With identity theft, more information leads to more risk, so limiting your exposure is the best policy. You can also easily remove a tag from a photo on Facebook, however this is usually an after thought as the damage is done.
Checking-in your friends
Using a mobile app you can check yourself in at different places. This is a cool feature but I usually recommend against this practice as it again makes life so much easy for hackers who want to get more information about you so they can steal your identity. Some applications also allow you to check-in your friends without them even realizing it. So even if your friend is very id theft conscious he is still at risk if you check him in. Be polite and just let everyone else check-in themselves.
Leaving comments on photos
Some of these points will seem fairly innocuous, but in the hands of an identity crook, even the most trivial information can help them gain the advantage. For instance, you might leave a comment on your friend’s photo about their pet and use the pet’s name. Well often people use their pet’s names for passwords and many security questions will ask for pet’s names as well, so if an ID thief has this information it will make hacking into your private data even easier.
Choosing simple passwords
Choosing a simple and easy password for yourself also puts your friends at risk. After all, a hacker can easy gain access to your account with a simple password and will be able to pose as you asking your friends list for money or their private information. There are a few Facebook scams going around right now where the hacker says he is stuck in Europe after being mugged and needs money transferred over to an account. Create tough passwords that are not easily cracked and help protect your friend’s IDs as well as your own.
If you are breaking these simple rules then can you image what you children are doing? Check out out Facebook monitoring options for parents,