How Social Media Sites Increase Your Risk for Identity Theft

The increasing popularity of social media sites like Facebook, Myspace and Friendster are getting more and more people on the internet. Using such sites entailing putting personal information online to be viewed by friends, friends of friends, or virtually everyone in the web, should you choose to. Revealing personal information can make one vulnerable to online fraudsters wanting to steal personal information.

Surprisingly, financial institutions like banks often just ask for your address or post code and date of birth as proof of identity. Someone who knows your account number or credit card number can literally steal your identity simply by just knowing your post code and date of birth. These people can be someone you know or are acquainted with, or they may be total strangers who happen to get hold of your personal and financial details.

Such happenings are not rare. Their occurrence worldwide is increasing at an alarming rate. This is due due to the fact that most people are unaware of the risks that they put them into when using social media sites. Some people tend to feel safe and secure with the "friendly" and "homey" environment of such networking sites.

Here are some of the ways you are invariably exposing yourself to identity theft:

1. Putting your complete name on the site, including your middle name.

Technically, your middle name is you mother's maiden name, which is usually what websites ask you as a security question to prove your identity when you can not access your account.

2. Writing your complete date of birth, including the year you were born.

Whenever you use your credit or debit card for telephone transactions, you are asked to supply your complete date of birth. Therefore, putting such information online can put you at risk for credit card fraud.

3. Putting your complete address or postcode.

It might be common sense not to put such information online but surprisingly, some people do. However, there are certain instances that you are required to supply an address. Just make sure it is not viewable by the entire world, or it if is, be certain that you've got no financial accounts linked to such address. It could be your work address or business address.

There you have it. By knowing the different ways as stated above, you can now begin to make changes to minimize and ultimately, eliminate your risk to online identity fraud.