With over 890 million daily active users in December 2014 and over 1.39 billion monthly users, Facebook has certainly become the kingpin of social media. Children and teens, young adults and seniors, individuals and businesses make use of the wonderful benefits that Facebook has got to offer. This service was founded back in 2004 and its growth has been exponential ever since, we all know that.
However no matter how much popular and loved Facebook has turned to be, there are still vulnerabilities that need to be addressed. When it comes to privacy settings, there is great room for debate. A lot of people have claimed that sensitive data can be obtained by those who penetrate Facebook accounts without the consent of the actual owners of these accounts, whereas others claim that Facebook has been collecting data for governmental use. Whether such claims are valid or not, the truth is that Facebook continues on its upward course.
One of the major vulnerabilities of Facebook and social media as a whole has been the identity theft threat that emerges. As we are about to witness, online identity theft can be made much easier than one would have thought of. So, let’s first have a closer look at what constitutes identity theft; after that, we will be much better equipped towards preventing it. In this way, we will have all the tools needed for eliminating the threat of Facebook identity theft.
What is Online Identity Theft?
Identity theft is the case when somebody else impersonates you online and takes advantage of your identity for multiple purposes. For instance, online identity thief could aim to gain access to your friends’ list and consequently send attachments that will harm in different ways, and ultimately they might become a victim of identity theft on Facebook. Another reason might be to start socializing with others or spread the word on websites, services and other ads.
Of course, gaining monetary profit is another reason why identity theft has flourished online. There really is no limitation as to the extent of exploitation that can be accomplished; so, you need to be weary and always follow the guidelines that are going to keep all the online threats regarding identity theft at bay. Now that we have covered the basics and you know what you may encounter unless you pay attention, it is high time we checked out what you can do to avoid identity theft.
Different Ways of Preventing Facebook Identity Theft
As you will come to realize, it is essential that you remain vigilant and that you do not remove your armor for any reason. So, behold the most important things that you ought to comply with for getting the desired effects:
- Limit Your Personal Information: This certainly is the alpha and the omega of your overall online protection. The fewer the details that others access about yourself, the less the danger you are in. If you are having second thoughts about whether or not something should be posted on your Facebook wall, it is a no-no! Try to share as few pieces of information as possible. It is better for you to be safe than sorry, after all!
- No Geo-Tagging: If you have been geo-tagging your photos, you should reconsider. This is your digital footprint that we are talking about and therefore you need to be as careful as you can. If you reveal your location every single time, you add another weapon to the ones that can be used against you; this is not something you are particularly fond of, right?
- No Credit Card Information: One of the simplest ways for someone else to gain access to your personal information is to penetrate your credit card account and remove money out of it. Unless you have got a lot of money that you can spare on total strangers who have bothered with impersonating you online, you should be really cautious and avoid storing credit card information.
- Security Settings: You should not just settle for the privacy and security settings that Facebook has structured by default. In this way, you only get average protection online. Instead, you can go ahead with adjusting the people you share your personal information with and the ones that can search for your name online and come up with your Facebook account. The power is in your hands!
- Safe Browsing: It is true that with safe browsing you minimize the threats of identity theft online. So, prefer visiting sites that have got https instead of the previously used http. This will encrypt your data and keep you safe. Of course, you should ensure that you safe browse while using Wi-Fi connection for getting online.
- Do not Reveal Anything: This is the optimum protection for you online! If you want to be kept safe and not have to worry about someone taking advantage of your personal information, do not share your latest accomplishments at work with your FB buddies! Do not reveal that you have just got married or that you have been promoted at work.
- Do Not Befriend Strangers: Are you used to accepting all friend requests that even total strangers proceed with? Well, you should change course and become more proactive in the field of online security. Total strangers can be bots, people who have masked their true identity and who wish to spy on you or people who want to harm you. Do not let them succeed in their goal!
- Get Alerted when Someone Else Logs In: Do you normally use your Facebook at home, sitting in front of your laptop? Well, if someone tries to access your Facebook account from another place (for instance, in a different town, city or even country) and with a different device, you should be alerted. This will help you know exactly when a potential breach is happening and act accordingly.
- Become Invisible: It is of paramount importance for you to remain anonymous and thus invisible online. So, if you wish to find out how you can stop identity theft, you had better remain out of reach and this only happens if nobody sees you. So, you need to go ahead with the necessary adjustments at your privacy settings on Facebook.
- Login Notifications: If you want to add an extra layer of security online, you can choose to use a 2 factor authentication process for logging in on Facebook. You will be prompted to select a password that only you are going to know, in order to shield your account more thoroughly.
- Do Not Expose Your Age: Although this might seem trivial to you, this is not. Avoiding letting others know of your age is not a matter of preserving your charm; instead, age is among the most fundamental pieces of information that can lead to identity theft.
- Even Acquaintances can Steal Your Identity: It is definitely harder to imagine that someone we know would be able to harm us in any way. Nevertheless, truth be told; many incidents have verified the acknowledgement that even people that you know can be proven illegal and aim to compromise your online identity.
- Identity Theft Protection Services: If you feel like safeguarding your Facebook account with the help of the pros, it makes total sense why you should choose to use some sort of Facebook identity theft protection service. There are some truly reliable solutions on the market for you to have your pick from, such as Identity Guard and LifeLock. You can do your own research, of course.
From all the things that have been outlined above, it is easily assumed that Facebook can be the source of both great and appalling aspects. Even if you do not want to deactivate your Facebook account, you can maintain your online protection and still benefit from socializing with friends, family and business associates in a safe manner. Do not hold back on what you can get out of complying with the proper instructions. Go ahead and prevent yourself from identity theft on Facebook now, so that you can profit at full from what this social media giant hands over to its users – so generously!
Top/Featured Image: By Johnhain vi Pixabay