Did you know? In 2021 alone, there were almost 1.5 million identity theft complaints – with social media being one of the main reasons for the rising numbers. Because social media is part of our daily lives, it can be easy to forget basic safety rules. Wondering what not to post on social media to avoid identity theft? Never share these six categories:
- Personal Information. As a rule of thumb, refrain from sharing too much on your social media profiles. Minimal information keeps you safer. Not sure what is public information? Take some time to review your online presence. Check your social media to see what̵7;s showing up. Sharing things like your birthday, high school, city you live in and more gives identity thieves a more complete picture of you. Then take it a step further and search yourself in a search engine, like Google, to see what others can see. Remove what you don’t want to be public.
- Your home. You have the new house…congratulations! But do you really want followers/strangers to know the exact address? To be safe, don’t share your city, a full photo of your home, or other identifying items like house numbers or mailboxes in photos.
- Payment Information. Social media marketplaces, retailers and more rely on payment information sharing via online portals and payment apps. If someone asks for payment in a suspicious manner or if you feel something is off, never share payment information. Pay attention when you’re on Facebook Marketplace. Take the time to vet retailers that show you ads by searching for them on Google and reviewing their associated Better Business Bureau ratings before making a purchase. Giving out your credit card or bank account details too freely can be dangerous. Identity theft is a growing crime and hackers are getting smarter. That means you should too.
- Password. A common phishing scheme involves fraudulent password scams. If you get a message telling you to reset a password… stop. Don’t do anything until you’ve done some digging. Look at the sender of the message — is it a legitimate business? Look at your history — has this organization contacted you before? If it seems legitimate, go directly to the website (not via the email or prompt) and try logging in with the credentials you know. Do not click on any links or respond to the message with password information if you are suspicious. The best thing is to find the company’s email or phone number from their website and call them directly to learn more.
- Location information. Traveling across the state, the country or the world? You will surely take some photos to share. But if you do, especially in real time, you’re setting yourself up for identity and property theft. People online can see you’re gone and target your home or mail while you’re gone. For the safest sharing, wait to post photos until you get home. Or avoid using location information altogether.
- Forms of identification. It can be tempting to share the funny photo on your driver’s license or a photo of the marriage license you and your spouse-to-be just picked up. Even if you block out other information in the photo, you may still be sharing snippets like your signature, address, parents’ names, or place of birth without realizing it. That information can help thieves piece together more about you. Do not share any part of your marriage certificate, birth certificate, passport, driver’s license, social security number, student ID or other important documentation on social media.
Always remember the basic rules of the internet.
Social media is woven into our daily lives, jobs and relationships. It can be easy to post and forget the golden rules of safety. But reminding yourself, your children, and loved ones what not to post on social media can better protect everyone from scams like identity theft.
Looking for even more protection? Talk to one of our local, independent agents about value-added services for policyholders, such as identity theft protection.