ID Theft Spiked on Social Media Platforms in 2011

By Nick McDonald March 02, 2012

A new study this week revealed that those who are active on social media are much more susceptible to identity theft. Javelin Research ‘s 2012 Identity Fraud Report found that over 11.6 million consumers were victimized by identity theft in 2011, a 13 percent increase from the previous year. Of those victims, social media users reported the most incidences of fraud, with LinkedIn users more than twice as likely as any other platform to report fraud attempts.

Javelin points out that social media profiles are basically serving up personal information to potential thieves on a silver platter, as large amounts of users post sensitive information like their birth date, giving identity thieves an easy first step to accessing more information. Smartphones have also been easy targets with 62 percent of users not password protecting their home screen, enabling anyone to access sensitive information like login credentials to online mobile platforms.

Overall, identity theft has been a popular topic in the first quarter of 2012, as the FTC listed it as the top complaint amongst consumers for the 12th year in a row, making personal privacy and saving sensitive information even more important in this age of new technologies. It was also a popular topic at the HIMSS in Las Vegas last month because of so many businesses interested in meeting the high demand from the public to enter the mobile world.

With mobile and social platforms expanding in users at an alarming rate, Javelin Research urges users to keep personal data private. Be responsible with sensitive information that can be used for authentication purposes, as mobile devices and computers often offer to save personal material for convenience, others can access it if you are not careful. Most importantly, when online you should ask yourself questions before providing information. Why does the site you are using need this information and how could it be used against you, are important things to think about. As the FTC has struggled to control identity theft over the last decade, it will only get worse as new platforms and online services that need your personal information are created.

So, while online, be social, but be smart as well and avoid the problems associated with getting your identity stolen.

Edited by Jamie Epstein

Contributing Writer

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