The digitalization of information and the popularity of social media may put consumer privacy at risk more now than ever. Some social media users, teenagers especially, may be unaware that the information they share — from their location to their paycheck — could be used for identity theft and fraud. About 92% of teenagers post their real name, 82% list their date of birth and 71% show their city or town of residence on their social profiles, according to Pew Research Center. While oversharing has become a problem, consumers could stop it by being careful what they post on social media.
Here are three kinds of information to never share on social media.
1. Driver’s License Details
Some users may be tempted to post their first driver’s license on social media to boast about their accomplishment or laugh at a silly photo. However, a valid ID card, such as a driver’s license, will contain your date of birth, picture and other personal identifiable information that thieves could copy.
Avoid sharing personal information that may lead to identity theft, including your date of birth and Social Security number. Access to this information could allow identity thieves to open new lines of credit, committing fraud and wrecking your credit score in the process. You can monitor your credit for changes that may signal identity theft by checking your free annual credit reports or using a credit monitoring service. You can also check your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.
2. Vacation Itinerary & Location Data
While you are excited to share pictures about your fun vacation to exotic locations, do not share information about your getaway beforehand on social media, such as how long you will be gone and where you are going.
Not only do potential thieves know that you will be out of your home for that period of time, they could take advantage of your absence and burglarize your property. If you also use geotagging for your posts to show your location or list the city where you live, burglars could use this information to target your home.
3. Bank Account Information
Posting any kind of financial information in a public space could perpetuate fraud. Although some people might use social media to post about their first paycheck from a new job in their excitement, they should not display images of their paycheck because it contains bank account information. In 2014, law enforcement authorities charged a huge identity theft ring that looked for victims’ financial information via Instagram postings of paychecks, CNNMoney reported.
The victims showed images of their paychecks with the hashtag #myfirstpaycheck, which held bank account and routing information. With this information, the thieves were able to make fake checks and steal from businesses.
More on Identity Theft:
- Identity Theft: What You Need to Know
- How Can You Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?
- What Should I Do If I’m a Victim of Identity Theft?