Identity thieves affect nearly nine million Americans annually. Whether it is getting into your email accounts, bank accounts, social media pages, or other company resources, they have the expertise to tap into your most private and personal information online. However, not every individual is at the same level when it comes to the potential risk of becoming victim to these security and identity threats. Some people make themselves an easy target online by simply putting more information about themselves out there. The manner in which you use mobile devices, or share a little too much information online, can make you a prime target for these identity thieves. The following are five groups of people who are likely to fall victim to online threats.
1. The Social Sharers
Social media users have become a huge target for identity thieves in recent years. Social media sites like Twitter and Facebook are used to share information about yourself, but to a select group of friends. However, if you aren’t careful with what you are sharing, the potential ID frauds on the internet may “like” a post or image you share, and now you have given them access to this information you share. When you share information such as your DOB (date of birth) or address, you are giving these identity thieves more ammo which they can use against you. It is best if you err on the side of caution on social media. Share as little personal information as possible, make sure you know who is “liking” your status, and make sure you know exactly who is following you on these sites.
2. The Plastic Spender
When you pay with plastic online, you are also more likely to become a victim of fraud online. If your information gets into the wrong hands, you have given away your identity to the wrong person. Debit cards are even more dangerous. With credit cards there is an added layer of security which isn’t present with the debit card. It is best to use cash as often as possible. And, if you do use plastic to pay online, don’t store PIN numbers online, or other personal information. Make sure you also monitor credit reports and bank statements frequently.
3. The Mobile User
With smartphones, you can file taxes online, use banking sites, and do everything on the go; with this freedom also comes more danger of identity theft. You may have antivirus protection and special protections on your PC, but most of us don’t do the same on our mobile devices. Password protection is critical to the mobile phone user. Imagine if your phone is lost or stolen, without the right precautions in place, you are giving the identity thief all the information they want. Public Wi-Fi spots are also a big target for identity thieves. You can use mobile devices, but make sure all necessary password protection precautions are taken.
4. Kids Are Prime Targets
Your children are also targets of identity theft online. Children go under the radar, and with SS (Social Security) numbers, it gives identity thieves the perfect target to wreak havoc early on for your kids. Because Social Security numbers aren’t filed with credit agencies for children, identity thieves have this number at their discretion for many years. How do you protect them? Make sure to protect their SS number, give it out as seldom as possible, and learn of different means of protecting their identity from a young age.
5. Big Executives Are Primary Targets
Net worth and your status in the business world can make you a prime target for identity theft. Cyber criminals are extremely creative in the methods used to find executives’ personal information. With more credit information made public, and information about income, addresses, and other personal information, big executives fall victim to ID theft. It is best to hire the right people to monitor your information, and to help protect you from online threats, because there are many.
Regardless of who you are, you may fall victim to online identity theft. But, depending on who you are, and what you make public, you become an even greater target. For individuals who fall within these categories, make sure to monitor your credit regularly, to work with the right people, and to take additional precautions, to ensure you don’t fall victim to these online identity thieves.