The digitization of information and the popularity of social media may be putting consumer privacy at risk now more 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.
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.
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, according to USA Today.
3. Bank Account Information
Posting any kind of financial information in a public space could invite 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.
If any of your data has been posted online — or even if not — it’s vital to watch your credit reports and credit scores closely for signs of fraud. You can get your credit reports for free annually from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. There are also several sources that will give you your credit scores for free, including Credit.com — where it’s updated every 14 days so you can monitor for any changes that could signal a problem.
More on Identity Theft:
- Identity Theft: What You Need to Know
- 3 Dumb Things You Can Do With Email
- How Can You Tell If Your Identity Has Been Stolen?