All Points Medical Waste Blog

Protecting your identity while engaging online

How not to fall victim

Everyone knows not to post sensitive personal information on their favorite social media sites, right? But while not giving out your social security or driver’s license number is a no-brainer, most folks are perfectly comfortable with sharing other facts about themselves, their family and their life. Of the more than one billion people actively engaging on Facebook, 328 million on Twitter and 700 million on Instagram, millions of users share posts that include when and where they’re going on vacation, how old their children are and what schools they attend, where they work, their hometown and much more. Additionally, in order to create an account many of these sites require providing personal facts like your birthdate (because you have to be a certain age to engage) and your full name. They also solicit info like relationship status, where you go to school or when you graduated, your pet’s name, favorite hobbies, clubs and professional associations. So what’s the danger of posting pics of your dog or your kid’s birthday party? Read on to find out.

Shouting it from the rooftops

Although it’s tempting to share your amazing vacation pics with all your friends, the fact is that even if you think only your connections can see your posts, social media sites are wide open to hackers. And that means that people you don’t know may be alerted to the fact that you’re out of town—or any other information that leaves you vulnerable. If you’re active on Facebook, you may have heard about the many fraudulent profiles created by unscrupulous characters. These fake profiles may seem innocuous, but just think of the personal facts an identity thief can gather when connecting and engaging with all your friends and family under the guise that they are you.

Networking nightmares

Connecting with other likeminded souls is one goal of those who engage on professional sites like LinkedIn and many other channels that are designed for people with similar interests. The problem is when you’re building your network it’s not uncommon for third parties to ask for your profile information, your username and your password. But this is exactly when a breach can occur, releasing your confidential info into the wrong hands and putting your identity in a precarious position.

Rules to engage by

Awareness of the dangers of social media is the first step to protecting yourself. One of the key considerations to keep in mind is to throw out the “this won’t happen to me” attitude—because everyone is a potential victim when it comes to fraud and identity theft.
Next, follow these simple rules to safeguard your accounts on all of the sites where you’re active:

  • Google yourself on a regular basis—this will show you if there are any pictures, posts or information out there that you haven’t posted
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis
  • Use unique passwords instead of real answers when creating security questions
  • Alter your birthdate by a day, the month or the year
  • Avoid posting vacation pics and if you must, post once you’ve returned home
  • Never give out personal information like your social security number, address or drivers license
  • Stay clear of posting the name of your school or what year you graduated or the same information about your children, grandchildren
  • Don’t provide your username of password to third parties, instead create new profiles on each site you’re participating on

Keep it personal

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States with more than 14 million people being victimized each year. Keep your personal information confidential by engaging safely online and by being proactive about shredding, rather than recycling documents. Remember, personal paperwork that’s lying around your home or office can provide all a criminal needs to gain access to your bank account, your credit card accounts and other information. Once you’re read and recorded the information you need, shred old documents to ensure they’re permanently destroyed.

All Points Mobile Shredding provides onsite shredding for both residential and commercial clients. Our onsite services ensures your sensitive documents never leave your sight—and
our destruction certificates serve as a record for even further peace of mind. Give us a call at
772-283-4152 and talk to us about how we can help you safeguard your identity.

Dawn Connelly

Dawn Connelly

Dawn is the vice president of All Points Mobile Shredding. All Points Mobile Shredding is a family-owned and operated on-site document destruction company that has been serving the Treasure Coast, Palm Beaches, and surrounding areas since 1994.
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