With the fear of fraud and identity theft becoming more and more in the minds of consumers and business owners for that matter, there are means available for both to lessen the odds they will become the next victims.
Stop for a moment and think about how just one gaffe on social media can turn your life upside down.
If you accidentally give out an account number or indicate that you are away from your home on vacation or a business trip, how long do you think it will take for online criminals to pounce?
As too many consumers and business owners have discovered in recent years, online thieves don’t need very much of a window in order to make life a living hell for their targeted victims.
Being social about fraud and identity theft is actually a two-way street.
On the down side, those social media errors you make can come back to bite you.
On the up side; being protective of your social media movements is crucial.
Using services that monitor and advise you on your social footprints (see more below) places you in a better position to avoid becoming a crime victim.
That said are you aware of and ready to combat the dangers of fraud and identity theft?
Don’t Inadvertently Help Online Criminals
So that you can decrease the chances of becoming the next fraud and/or identity theft victim, file away these reminders:
- Financial information – It is NEVER a good idea to share financial information on social media. Even if you have a locked account and/or think you know exactly who is following you on sites such as Facebook, save any necessary personal financial talk for direct messaging or offsite. As too many consumers have discovered over time, what they thought to be private chat settings, well, they were not so private when all was said and done. The same holds true when using email and other online forms of communication;
- In the workplace – While you should not be using social media at home to share and/or discuss personal financial matters, the same holds true in the workplace. Even though office servers should have security software in place to protect against online criminals breaking through is that a chance you are truly willing to take with your finances? Just as you should not be sharing customer financial data around the office, the same is true with your personal finances;
- Social hashtags and chat rooms – Many people using Twitter and Facebook will run with hashtags to indicate what they are talking about. For example, if you’re involved with a hashtag on Twitter such as #economy, don’t start discussing your personal finances in there for the entire world to see. Yes, it sounds like commonsense, but you’d be surprised how many lose just that when they get deeply engrossed in an online conversation;
- On the road – How many times have you traveled and stayed in a hotel? The answer to that question is probably many or at least several times. In doing so, you likely used a hotel computer (if you did not bring your laptop) to check out your social media sites most oftentimes used. For instance, you log-in to Twitter and start reading and maybe even opining on different hashtags of interest. That is fine until you leak some personal details, details that online criminals would just love to have. The problem when doing this on the road is that you can’t be 100 percent fully guaranteed that you will have a safe and secure server with which to work off of. When in doubt, always take the safe route and assume someone could be watching your online movements;
- Service with a smile – Finally, do your utmost to find an online security monitoring service that has your best interests at heart. With competing services out there, be sure to take some time and find the one best suited to meet your needs. Remember, online security is as important today as ever, especially with millions and millions of people on the Internet. Don’t let a single mistake end up costing you your financial health, something which can take years to recover from.