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The Resource Center Online Security Issues & Protection The Resource Center | article

4 Tips to Protect You from ID Theft When You’re Using Social Media

Tweeting, Friending, Checking in. These terms have become colloquial expressions thanks to social media.

According to Advertising Age, U.S.-based users make up 46.7 percent of LinkedIn's 100 million plus users and about 30% of Facebook's 500 million-plus users.

With so many individuals connecting on the Web, and using social media to share information, you may now be more at risk for identity theft. This is because many identity thieves have begun to focus their attention on these sites, seeing them as an efficient resource for targeting a large group of people in a single attack.

If you have social networking accounts,make sure you are practicing smart and responsible Web use. Keeping the following tips in mind may help you protect your credit reports and scores from identity theft and fraud.

1. Avoid using the same password and username for multiple accounts. Taking this approach may help you prevent a single compromised account from leading to the vulnerability of a variety of data. Social media users looking for fraud protection should also make sure to put capitals, numbers, and if possible, symbols, in their passwords to make them harder to crack.

2. Do not share your personal information, such as your address, date of birth and telephone number on profile pages. While these details alone are generally not enough to commit identity theft, a thief may be able to piece together more of your info from these items. Users who insist on sharing some of their personal information should make sure to at least make their pages private, so that only people they trust can see them.

3. Be wary of messages, wall posts or Tweets from unfamiliar individuals. Identity thieves will often create social media accounts, friend unsuspecting victims and then send them links to malware-infested websites. For this reason, it's typically in your best interest to research any request for contact from a person you do not know.

4. If you allow your children to participate on social networking sites, talk to them about identity theft in the same way they would drugs and safe driving. Building identity theft awareness at an early age may help youngsters better protect their credit reports and scores from damage throughout their lives.

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