Guard Your Info Like ... Fluffy the Three-Headed Dog

 

 

Yes, this is Fluffy . . . from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. (source)

Whoa! We've all heard warnings about how much information we put out on social media these days, but even information you might believe to be harmless can let someone steal your identity.
 
If you're extra-vigilant about who can see your profile, you should be okay. The problem lies with people who have public social media profiles or profiles that are open to "friends of friends."
 
The troublesome information? Stuff you might not even think about, such as:
 
1) Your birthday
2) Your high school name
3) Your email address
4) Your sibling's profiles (may have identifying information about YOU)
5) Your phone number
6) Your various screen names (AIM, MSN, etc.)
7) Your pet's name
8) Your mother's social media profile/her maiden name
 
 
"The incidence of identity fraud in 2011 rose to about 5 percent of the adult United States population, up from roughly 4 percent the year before, the report found. But among Facebook users with public profiles, the rate was 7.5 percent, while users who accept “friend” requests from strangers had an even higher rate, of nearly 9 percent."
 
Someone who wanted to steal your identity could glean a ton of information from your social media presence, which could assist them in making phone calls to gather more info, guessing your passwords or security questions, and other useful tidbits.
  
Advice? Tighten up the privacy settings on your social media profiles, and decide which information is best left under wraps. You can read more about this stuff here at NYTimes.com.
 
Stay awesome!
 
Janelle