Protecting yourself from identity theft

Published On: Jun 19 2013 10:29:20 PM EDT
Updated On: Jun 20 2013 06:20:00 AM EDT

No matter how hard you try, you can’t prevent social media-related identity theft. Even if you delete your Facebook account, turn off Twitter, and cut yourself off from social media, there’s probably still enough information about you out there to help the bad guys access your financial life.

It’s in the stuff you’ve already posted, other people’s posts about you, and in huge databases that have been tracking you on and offline that can get you in trouble. However, there are ways to make yourself less of a target.

More than eleven million people get their identity stolen every year. One person becomes a victim of identity theft every three seconds.

Cyber thieves look for tidbits of info online to figure out what your confidential passwords could be. This includes your full name, your birth date, your children’s names, your hometown, your mother’s maiden name, the schools you’ve attended, and your address.  That means get rid of all of these on your Facebook page and Twitter account. Keep your pets’ names private, too.

Also, beware of apps. Free games and quizzes seem like fun, but typically their purpose is to suck up info about you and your friends.  Another trick is personality quizzes. Many are set up by identity thieves to get personal information about you.

According to LifeLock, if you own a smart phone, you’re 35% more likely to be a victim of identity theft. Florida, Georgia and California report the most identity theft.

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