Last updated: April 23, 2018
How easy a target are you making yourself for hackers?
You may think you’re being careful with your online data. You take all the recommended precautions and carefully configure your privacy settings on Facebook, go by a pseudonym on Twitter, and only connect with people you’ve actually met in person on LinkedIn.
You may think that keeps you relatively safe from hackers, stalkers, and identity thieves. But you’d be surprised at the information even a casual Internet user armed with some basic Google search skills can piece together about you.
Have you ever used the same username or pseudonym at more than one website? How many online accounts and profiles have you abandoned that are still online, giving out information about you? Did you ever delete that old MySpace profile?
Using just basic online search techniques, any interested party out there can put together a lot of revealing information about you and the details of your life.
Savvy identity thieves can use your information to file false worker’s compensation claims, steal your Social Security benefits, get fake passports, put their medical bills in your name, give your information for their speeding tickets or crimes, or steal money from your bank accounts. And these types of thefts can be much harder to spot than you’d imagine.
It may seem like a small risk, but the rise in identity crime makes it clear that all of us are potential victims. Identity theft is now the most common consumer complaint in the United States by far, numbering over 10 million cases a year. That’s an over 20% increase from last year, with a new case occurring every 2 seconds.
What online accounts and websites are giving out your personal information, and how can you protect yourself while still taking advantage of the benefits of social media and modern technology? Check out the details below to learn how and why to keep your information safe online.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn – nowadays it seems there are too many social media sites to keep track of.
Small components of your online identity can be pieced together to build a larger, more invasive profile.
And in the wrong hands, who knows what will be done with it?
If you openly share your details on various social media sites, it’s easy to find out your location, background and interests.
Even if you don’t use social media, your details can still be found online.
Data brokers are companies that buy and sell your private information. Some examples include:
Many data brokers aggregate personal information on one page. Simply type in a name and general area, and the basic details you require are a click away.
What Information Can Data Brokers Get?
Using the basic information above, people can use other online services to gain further details about your life.
Armed with sensitive information, hackers can easily crack common security questions used by a range of websites:
And once hacked, risks you’re vulnerable to include:
Be mindful of what you post – what goes online stays online!
Divulging too many personal details online can make you an easy target for hackers. Protect your identity by keeping your private life private, and minimizing the information you share online.