Are Social Websites Being Used for Identity Theft?

How Myspace, Facebook and Other Social Websites Pose an Identity Theft Risk

When we think about websites like Myspace and Facebook, identity theft isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind. Unfortunately though, it should be an important consideration. It seems that these social websites are quickly becoming breeding grounds for identity theft crimes.

Don't We Know Better?

Most of us know not to give our personal information to strangers, but some of us still have no problem posting our names, birth dates, email addresses and other personal information on social websites like Myspace and Facebook or giving that sensitive information to people we meet on those websites.

How Innocent Is It?

Think about it... You're on the computer chatting with a friend that you met on Myspace a few months ago. They know your name (you gave them that info after "knowing" them a few weeks) and they know what town you live in. They know how old you are.

During your chat session, your "friend" innocently asks when your birthday is (after all, what's wrong with knowing a friend's birthday) and they want to know where they can send you a card. If you give up the info, this "friend" (who you really don't know at all) will now have your name, address and birth date.

That's about all some criminals need to steal your identity.

A Word to the Wise

First, I want to make it clear that I'm not saying you should keep off of sites like Myspace and Facebook. What I am saying, however, is that you need to realize you really don't know the people you meet online, even if you think you do.

Each year thousands of people are scammed by "friends" they met online. Don't be one of them. Keep your personal information personal. Remember, if you give info too freely, what others know about you can be used against you and you might become the victim of identity theft before you know what hit you.

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