Protect your Facebook and MySpace profile

How many of you publish your personal details online?

My guess is most of you! Sadly too many of us post information such as our favourite sport, place of birth just to name a few as well as link to other websites that contain other personal information, or even personal information on loved ones. It wouldn’t take too long for a fraudster to type in your name into Google search and find profiles on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Bebo, blogs and so on.

Even if you only had snippets of personal information, you may have forgotten but you may have published different personal information on different websites. This allows the fraudster to build up a rather comprehensive profile about you. Scarey stuff?

First and foremost you should never publish personal information online. If you do be very careful about who you allow to see your profile. Remember also if you join a network, everyone might be able to see your profile. We suggest you make your profiles private in every case. This stops your profile from being indexed in search engines. It wouldn’t take long for someone to establish from your profiles where you live and where you work thus possibly being able to collect enough information to steal your identity. Some fraudsters wait a long time for all the information to be posted – eventually you will give them what they need wherever you might place it! So beware.

Bet you think identity theft couldn’t happen to you?

Let me tell you. It can! Identity theft is the fastest growing crime in the world and remember also most of us know very little about it. In fact most people treat identity theft as someone stealing your credit card or cloning it so it can be used in some foreign country. Think again – this isn’t quite the truth. In fact, identity theft (which leads to identity fraud) is committed online and offline.

Online means the internet – which involves for example a malicious program copying everything you type (i.e. usernames and passwords – often refered as a keylogger) or directing you to a fake website to capture your personal details (this is called Pharming).

Offline means someone cloning your card in a shop or via say an ATM machine, redirecting mail away from your address (to commit application fraud), using your vehicle registration on their vehicle (so you get the fines!), applying for loans and credit etc.

Third Party Applications on Social networking sites

Facebook opened their site up to third party developers recently which in affect made the privacy debate more of an issue. They are not the only ones doing this. Most third party applications collect data – for example via online games and application forms to win a prize. Some request an SSN (social security number – US) and credit and debit card details – abeit legally and in some instance illegally. The legal data collection can sometimes lead to your data being rented or even sold to a third party marketing company and you start to receive spam emails or even worse phishing emails. The illegal data collection could see your details being used to apply for credit cards and loans. Believe me this recently happened via Facebook! Worried? You should be! It’s takes months to clear your name if you have been a victim of identity fraud.

We at ID Theft Protect would never open up our database to third party developers. Any marketing we do is done by us and only us. We store your data and allow you access to your data whenever you wish to see it as part of the UK Data Protection Act, EU’s Data Protection Directive and the US “Safe Harbor” framework (the US doesn’t have a data protection act though).

ID Theft Protect is championing trust and awareness with our internet security partners AVAST and Lavasoft. We want you, the consumer to have all the information at your finger tips. To find out more about the issues discussed here please click here

Safe surfing folks!

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