Stay Safe on Social Web Sites, Online for Valentine's Day With These Tips from Identity Theft 911

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Use these tips from Identity Theft 911 to make sure you don't get scammed in the name of love. Use caution on Facebook, others when responding to friend requests and quizzes. Don't respond to just anyone and never send money, personal information.

Don't accept 'friend' requests from strangers ...

While social networking and online dating sites are great ways to exchange information, and sites that let you to post large amounts of personal and family information are great ways to stay in touch, they can also pose great dangers for identity theft.

With Valentine’s Day upon us, here are some tips from Identity Theft 911 to keep in mind during the lover’s holiday:

  •     Avoid Facebook and other social networking Web site quizzes that open the door on your personal info to the quiz developers.
  •     Use strong passwords comprised of numbers, letters and symbols and change them often. Use different passwords for your social Web sites, personal life and financial life. If you can’t remember passwords, use secure programs such as ‘Password-Safe’ for storing them.
  •     Treat your laptop as if you know it’s going to be stolen. Use the password-prompt on start-up, and shut it down for the night when you are done. Consider using open-source encryption programs such as TrueCrypt.
  •     Avoid unsecured public “Wi-Fi” networks at Internet cafes and coffee shops.
  •     Use firewalls, anti-virus and anti-malware software and regularly, or automatically update them.
  •     Don’t accept friend requests from strangers in a misguided attempt to pad your Facebook and Twitter numbers.
  •     Be careful of clicking on links on social networking Web sites. They could lead to malicious code installation on your PC.
  •     Be aware that even pictures can contain viruses, Trojan horses and worms. Don’t click on pictures just because they are cool, or “hot-looking.”
  •     Log out of any social networking site when not in use. Use different log-ins for various sites.
  •     Consider how much of your identifying information is posted on these sites. Are there photos that show the entire layout of your apartment and everything in it? Is your full birth date disclosed? Over-sharing is a bad idea for many reasons.
  •     Don’t post messages such as “out for a run” or “at the mall shopping for my sweetie.” Thieves could use that information to physically break in your house.

Protect your passwords and PINs

  •     Don't use the last four digits of your SSN, your mother's maiden name, your date of birth, your middle name, your child's name, your pet's name, or anything else easily discovered or guessed.
  •     Discourage your bank from using the last four digits of your SSN as your default PIN. If they do, change it.
  •     Use a combination of letters and numbers and change your passwords frequently.

SOURCE: Identity Theft 911

About Identity Theft 911®:
Protecting more than 30 million Americans, Identity Theft 911 is a leader in identity management and identity theft remediation and resolution solution services to businesses and consumers on behalf of its 450 client institutions, as well as in comprehensive data breach preparedness (including incidence response plans), compliance, and notification and remediation services that are currently found in more than 150,000 businesses.

Identity Theft 911 provides innovative, enterprise-level solutions and consumer education to Fortune 500 companies and emerging markets, many of America's largest insurance carriers, corporate benefit providers and a wide spectrum of other financial institutions, including banks and credit unions.

For more information, visit http://www.identitytheft911.com or Identity Theft 911’s Knowledge Center™ at http://www.identitytheft911.org.

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Christopher Bacey
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