4 Things Crooks Love to See in Your Social Media Profile

Want to make an identity thief, spy, or burglar happy?  Hand them all sorts of personally identifiable info in your Facebook or Instagram profile.  Here are 4 tips from the experts…plus a bonus tip about work:

1. Your date of birth.  Everybody looks forward to all those kind b-day greetings on Facebook, but next to your Social Security number, the good old DOB is the single most prized bit of data for identity thieves.  And remember, you should think twice about telling the world when it’s your kids’ birthdays, too.  After all, minors are victims of a stunning percentage of ID theft.

2. Answers to your secret questions.  You know the questions we mean—the ones that let you access accounts whose password you’ve forgotten.  Criminals know that these queries tend to focus on old addresses, best friends, high school mascots, and so on.  Don’t make their jobs easier!

* BONUS TIP * Rants about work.  Bad day at the office?  Unreasonable client?  Trouble with your manager?  Sure! Vent about it on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook.  What’s the worst that could happen?! (Besides getting fired or losing a promising opportunity years from now.) Social media is the wrong place to talk about work in a negative light. 

3. Intellectual property.  While we’re discussing work, keep in mind that corporate spies (and, depending on your industry, perhaps even nation-state spies) often “friend” people in order to pick up company or industry secrets.  Even if a tidbit seems routine to you—a new client, perhaps—keep it out of social media.

4. Vacation pics.  It’s not an urban legend; there truly are documented cases in which thieves used social media feeds to determine which homes to target.  Brag about your vacation once you get home!

© National Security Institute, Inc.

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