If you read the news regularly, or even if you just talk to a lot of people, it’s hard to avoid the topic of identity theft. Nowadays, it seems like cyber scammers are popping up everywhere we go and trying to get their hands on our data every time we do anything. Here’s a short list of some of the surprising places where people have reported having their identities stolen.
• Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, you get it. Many people are posting information on these sites that should remain confidential and identity thieves are taking advantage of this opportunity. If you put your address on your Facebook site, you’re telling everyone where you live. Add you birthday and hometown and you’re making identity theft easy for the scammers who may be posing as your acquaintances or friends. To be safe on these sites, limit the type of information you make public.
• Your old cell phone or laptop. Before you start obsessing over the cool new features on your spanking new iPhone, take a minute to make sure you’ve gotten rid of all the data on your old one. Even when you follow instructions for wiping your devices clean, you often still leave bread crumbs that can be pieced together by a savvy identity thief. While it’s nice to donate or recycle them, it’s safer just to destroy them.
• Your online resume. Identity thieves are searching through online resumes, using the data they find to conduct numerous scams. For example, they’ll use your email address to send you customized phishing email, such as ones that appear to come from a recruiter and ask you for more information. They might also call your old employer or school to request more information about you. Because they a lot of data about you from your resume, they can be very convincing. Posting a resume online has many benefits so we won’t ask you to take them down. However, be skeptical if someone asks you for more information via email or on the phone. Verify that they are who they say they are before you had anything over.
• Mobile apps. Games and apps for your smartphone—how did we ever live without them? The downside is that, if you’re not careful, your innocent Angry Birds app can contain malware, which can be used to steal the personal data stored on your phone. So before you buy, make sure the app you’re downloading is legit.
• Your GPS system. If you keep a GPS system mounted on your dash or stored in your glove compartment when you’re not in the car, you’re asking for trouble, particularly if your home address is programmed into the GPS. A savvy thief could break into your car and use the information in your GPS to target your home for robbery, or combine your address with other bits of data to steal your identity.
It’s scary to think of all the places where identity thieves might be lurking but it’s important to be aware of the risks and make sure your identity is protected from all these threats.
Check out TrustedID’s services—theyprovide tools and services that help ensure your identity stays your own.
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