The news has been bombarded with a college football player’s supposed girlfriend, which was really a man behind a beautiful woman’s Twitter picture. Creepy, right? Well how would you feel if that photo was you? Or how would you feel to be the person being tricked? We are all vulnerable when we use social sites to connect with others.
Not only should this story be a wake-up call, but it should tell you identity theft is easier than ever with social media. Think about it…Your facebook profile has your name, your phone number, pictures, where you live, your childrens’ names, your birthday, your anniversary, your favorite books, religion, and the list could go on.
Not only can predators create another identity using your images and some of your information (as was done in the case above), but they can also pose as YOU.
I recently saw a status on one of my friend’s Facebook wall that said, “Please be careful, hackers have found something new. They take your profile picture and your name and create a new FB account. Then they ask your friends to add them. Your friends think it is you, so they accept. From that moment on they can say and post whatever they want under your name. Please don’t accept a second friendship request from me, I have only one account. Copy this on your wall to keep others informed.”
You may want to post something similar, but you also may want to re-evaluate your privacy settings, what information you are disclosing, who can view your information and understand that we are all vulnerable when we put our images and information on the internet. Try searching your name and make sure no one is using your identity on social sites (if they are under a different name with your images, that is harder to discover).
Be sure to review your settings in your social accounts often, as policies are consistently changing. You need to be aware of any changes to profile access.
Also, if you are responsible for an organization, I suggest looking into our Responsible Use of Social Media course which reviews information that should never be shared and appropriate use for personal and business use (among other topics).