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Identity Theft And Social Networking Sites

Mar 20, 2008
Identity theft is becoming a serious problems in all corners of the globe, and with the advancement of technology like the internet, new ways to steal your identity are coming about every day. It is becoming harder and harder to protect yourself from this crime and ensuring your personal data is safe is becoming a constant struggle. You wouldn't want to give your personal details to a complete stranger, but the reality is, you are doing this every time you sign up to a social networking site.

This really occurs mostly with the younger generation that use these social networking sites as a way of meeting new people and communicating with their friends. On signing up to these sites, they are asked to provide names, addresses, contact telephone numbers, dates of birth and schools they attended. This sort of information is being viewed by people that are viewing their profiles, and only a few of the sites have a scheme where your profile cannot be viewed unless you specifically add them as a friend. Many of the users of the sites add other users as friends with no real idea who they are. That is the worst thing about the internet, it allows you to be who you want to be and come up with characters.

Think of the ways that these social networking sites can be used as a focus for identity theft. The majority of the users post their birth date and this is a question commonly asked by banks to determine a person's identity. Combined with the full name and also things like pet names, Mother's maiden name and other such information, it doesn't take a genius to work out the rest. Not only can information be stolen this way, but names can be searched on internet search engines and information can be found that way. A person could also try to be added to your friends list, without you actually knowing who they are and discreetly ask questions in conversations, such as home address, and other personal information that can be used to perform identity theft.

This carefree attitude to private details not only puts the users of the sites at risk, but also the people that they live with are put wide open to the risk of identity theft. If a child or young person gives away personal information over the internet on these social networking sites, their parents or guardians are at an increased risk of identity theft. A few carefully asked questions, randomly dropped into conversation are encouraging the users of these sites to give away details that they wouldn't normally give away. What's your Dad's name? Where do you live? When's your birthday? How old are you? A pattern emerges. These are questions that could commonly be seen as friendly conversation, but can very often lead to the exchange of details that could potentially be used in the cases of identity theft.

The unbelievable thing is that many of these sites have been under scrutiny in the media for the public access of personal information, but still it goes on. More and more people are signing up under recommendation of their friends and family meaning that thousands, sometimes millions, of people are left wide open to the risks that identity thieves that may be operating can pose.
About the Author
Author and internet entrepreneur Bernard Pragides offers expert advice and tips regarding identity theft. Learn more about identity theft and fraud by visiting his identity theft blog at http://www.LifeLockblog.com for more helpful information.
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