Identity Theft and MySpace

Your Online Habits Can Put You at Greater Risk of Identity Theft

If you are serious about reducing your risk of identity theft, you need to take a look at your online habits. If you are a college student or young adult, the following information can probably be particularly relevant, but everyone needs to know some things regarding Internet behavior so they can take care and inform their friends and family members.

A Blessing and a Curse

The Internet can be a valuable tool. At any hour of the day you can log on and search for information on any topic imaginable. The Internet has also become an easy way for friends to keep in contact with each other, particularly college students and young adults. What you do online can contribute to and heighten your identity theft risk. Using websites like MySpace and Friendster, while a great way to keep in contact with friends, may not be the safest way to communicate.

The Attraction

MySpace is an incredibly popular website that many people use to communicate with one another. However, it can also be a playground for identity theft criminals. The personal information that people share on MySpace is often astounding. People think nothing of giving their names, birthdays and other personal info, yet it is visible for the entire world to see.

The Risk

If you are wondering how MySpace can put you at risk for identity theft, let me explain. It’s not so much the website itself, it’s the information you type on your own blog and your friends blogs that puts you at risk.

Let’s say you haven’t seen your friend in weeks and you drop by her MySpace profile to leave her a comment. “Hey, I’ll definitely stop by to visit you when I get home. Now, it’s off to Hawaii for 10 WHOLE days. Yippee!!”

Can you imagine how valuable that information might be to an identity theft criminal? He or she now knows that you won’t be home, and that your mailbox will probably be left unattended 10 whole days. Even if you think the criminal doesn’t know where you live, you are at risk.

Even if you directly don’t share your address, if you filled out the town you live in as part of your MySpace profile and you have your friends list visible to viewers who come to your site, he can probably piece it together with a few clues in as little as ten minutes. He can gather bits of information from the comments on your page and the comments on your friends pages to establish your address.

Protect Yourself

If you want to continue to use and enjoy MySpace because it helps you stay in touch with friends, just set your profile to private. That way you can keep all the comments your friends make private from prying eyes and will reduce your risk of identity theft. Identity theft can ruin your financial situation and credit history for a very long time, so while reducing your MySpace activity may not be your idea of “fun” it is definitely better than what you’ll have to endure if you become an identity theft victim.

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