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Thursday, August 2, 2012

LinkedIn and Identity Theft: Important Advice for Hardworking Business Owners, Professionals, and Executives Just Like You

By Andre’ Andropolis

You’re a hardworking small business owner or professional of some sort. Perhaps even a high-ranking executive. You clearly see the value of LinkedIn, and have built up a great profile on that site in order to better sell yourself and your business. Quality referrals, testimonials, and private messages are flying back and forth between you and your LinkedIn connections.

But just how much information are you putting on your LinkedIn profile, either about yourself or about your business?

With each detail of yourself or your business on LinkedIn, the risks of identity theft entering your life increases exponentially. And it’s not just yourself that can fall victim to identity theft. Your business entity can certainly fall prey to it, as well. Fortunately, there are some easy strategies you can immediately implement in order to reduce the risks of identity theft as a result of your LinkedIn presence:

  • Use your best judgment when confirming connections - many people are “open networkers” and will connect with just about anyone. While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and can perhaps even present more quality opportunities to you, approach these connections with some degree of skepticism.
  • Don’t list any of your birth information
  • Check your LinkedIn profile’s privacy settings, and adjust them accordingly, if necessary
  • Don’t list your home address
  • If you put something online, whether it's on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Youtube, Pinterest or Flickr, it's public, permanent and exploitable
  • Change your LinkedIn password frequently, incorporating a diverse variety of letters in both cases, numbers, and any symbols the system will allow you to use
  • Don’t use this same password for multiple online accounts

While LinkedIn, and any social media profile, for that matter, has the potential to offer you great opportunity by providing you with a forum to share with countless others who you are and what you do, it is imperative to exercise caution. All it takes is a hacker with a little know-how to take some of the information from your LinkedIn profile and use it to open accounts of all kinds, credit cards, and so on, in either your name or your company’s. Before you know it, you find yourself experiencing identity theft and locked in a tough, uphill battle to clear your good name.

Fortunately, there are easy strategies that you can implement this very moment to reduce your risks of identity theft. Take these first steps now. You’ve worked too hard and have come too far to not take a few moments out to give yourself added protection and peace of mind.

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The author is an identity theft expert and an independent associate with LegalShield. Since 1972, LegalShield has been providing families, employees and small businesses with affordable access to quality legal services and the Identity Theft Shield. The Company provides legal service benefits through a network of independent law firms across the U.S. and Canada. LegalShield is owned by a New York-based private equity group. He can be reached at 414-218-1495 or at .

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