You’re somewhere in your 20s or early 30s. You got hooked on Facebook when you were in college or perhaps even in high school, and you still go on it frequently. Heck, you may still have a Myspace profile lingering out there in cyberspace.
But you’re married now, and perhaps even raising a family.
With your spouse and each child, the risks of identity theft entering your life, whether it affects your own identity or that of someone you love, dramatically increases. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take right now to reduce your risk of identity theft. In no particular order, they are:
- Don’t list your full birth date on your social media profiles
- Don’t list your home address on your social media profiles
- Use caution when requesting/adding or confirming friendships or connections on your social media profiles
- Change your account passwords frequently, using a nice variety of numbers, capital and lowercase letters, and any symbols you’re allowed to use
- Don’t use the same password for multiple accounts
- Check your privacy settings on your social media profiles and adjust them accordingly if necessary
- Any profiles out there you no longer really use? Clean up unnecessary clutter you have online by deleting them
- If you have children, use caution in what you share on your social media profiles about them
To briefly address the last point, let’s be realistic here. It can be very tough for parents to not want to share information about their children across their various social networks. And it clearly shows. All across the Internet, photos, birthdates, vitals at birth, the name of the hospital, and other information about their children are freely shared by doting parents. But while it’s tough to resist that urge to share with others information about the greatest, most meaningful, and beautiful joy in your life, you have to try. You have to use caution. All it takes, unfortunately, is for someone who knows what they’re doing, to take a few of the facts that you have shared about your children online, and run with them. Before you know it, you’re experiencing identity theft. And identity theft can be a long, painful road to go down, one that can drain you emotionally, mentally, physically, and financially as you fight to clear your name, or that of your spouse or child.
Fortunately, there are easy strategies that you can implement immediately to protect yourself and those you love by reducing the risks of identity theft.