New York, New York (PRWEB) November 30, 2012
December is National Identity Theft Prevention and Awareness Month. Companies like Reputation Rhino, a top-rated reputation management company in New York City, are raising awareness about identity fraud and advising clients to take proactive measures to prevent and detect identity theft and other privacy breaches that may expose unwanted personal or confidential information online or offline.
In 2011, identity fraud in the United States increased by 13 percent and more than 11.6 million adults became victims of identity fraud. As people share more and more personal information publicly on social and professional networking sites, researchers have found a significantly higher incidence of identity fraud for active users of some of the most popular social media web sites in the U.S.
In 2011, LinkedIn users experienced a 10.1% incidence rate of identity fraud while Google+ users experienced a 7% incidence rate of identity fraud -- much higher than the all‐consumer incidence rate of 4.9%, according to a 2012 report by Javelin Strategy & Research.
Twitter experienced an incidence rate of identity fraud of 6.3% and Facebook saw an incidence rate of 5.7%. Among U.S. adults, Facebook was the most frequently used site with 46% of the adult population, trailed by Google+ with 20% of the adult population. LinkedIn made up 7% of social network users. Consumers were defined as social media site users if they have accessed that site within the past seven days.
“Our interest in publicly sharing the most private and personal moments of our lives online often trumps common sense,” says Todd William, founder and CEO of Reputation Rhino, “we need to use the privacy settings and security controls that are available and think about how the information we share, especially when accessing third party apps and games, can increase our risk of becoming a victim of identity theft.”
The Javelin Strategy & Research study noted that 68 percent of people with public social media profiles shared their birthday information (with 45 percent sharing month, date and year); 63 percent shared their high school name; 18 percent shared their phone number; and 12 percent shared their pet’s name. “This is exactly the kind of information that companies use to verify your identity and fraudsters use to steal it,” says Todd William, who writes about social media, privacy and crisis communications on his popular online reputation management blog.