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Identity Theft Isn't Rocket Science-Not When You Have Facebook!

While social media appears to be innocent and harmless fun—a place to catch up with old friends and post pictures of experiences, family, pets, and other (hopefully) tasteful subjects – it can be the Achilles’ heel of protecting your identity.

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The information you share on your Facebook page, for example, can be a goldmine for identify thieves. So, without showing hands, how many answers to these common online banking and shopping security questions can be found directly on, or through, Facebook leads?

  1. Birthdate
  2. Favorite pet’s name
  3. City you were born in
  4. High school mascot
  5. Mother’s maiden name

Considering that the above are the top 5 online/password security questions, it gets a bit scarier, no?  Crooks can bypass the need for your password.  After that, they will most likely be able to reset it to a new password of their choosing … and lock you out!

Also be aware that, depending on your social media settings (which should be monitored regularly; don’t just ‘set it and forget it’), and whether you access your account through an app on your phone, your location may be public for people to view every time you access or post new information, depending on the social media site.

You don’t need to panic or become paranoid.  Just be mindful of your activity and what you would otherwise think of as just random posts or safe personal disclosures, because it can all be used against you when in the wrong hands.  Be sure to watch what you post, but more importantly, check your privacy and security settings to limit the access of people able to view some or all of your information.  If you’re not sure how, just ask your kids or grandkids!

Author: Richard C. Gordon, CPA/ABV/CFF, CFE, CGMA, Director of Forensic and Valuation Services

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