Looking back, social media is the kind of thing we all rushed into out of excitement without necessarily thinking about what, exactly, we were doing. We understood we were posting details about our lives and whatnot, but failed to consider the ramifications of putting our lives online.
Maybe we were naive and did not think about much past the simple act of posting some information online. Or, perhaps we just ignored the warning signs because we valued the chance to share our lives with our friends and family.
Regardless, we have all learned that there is such a thing as too much sharing, and not just because people are tired of seeing your latest meal or photos from your awesome vacation. Along with those, over-sharing can lead to identity theft.
We do the hackers' work for them
Just think about the kind of information you have provided to sites like Facebook. Email addresses, passwords, birthdays, locations and, if you are buying stuff, credit cards, too.
Hackers get into systems and leaks often happen, but the troubles that all causes has nothing to do with what happens when people with malicious intent simply take advantage of our willingness to share. Not to blame ourselves for what criminals do, but we don't have to help, right?
Right, but that doesn't stop most of us. Then there is also the stuff that you may not share, but others will. Maybe your birthday isn't listed but friends still take to Facebook to send you good thoughts on your page.
A study by Nationwide Building Security revealed a whopping 83 percent of people between the ages of 16 and 25 know someone who puts personal information online. Along with that, 62 percent saw oversharing regarding relationships, health and political beliefs, while another 56 percent say their friends tend to share their current location.
Simply put, the more one shares online the greater the chance of it being used against them for fraud. Many hackers do not need much to get past privacy settings and security systems, and once they do could be granted access to things like bank details and other highly-sensitive information.
According to the survey, 11 percent of respondents said either they themselves or a friend has lost money as a result of fraud, with another 11 percent saying their account had been duplicated.
How to stay safe while enjoying social media
For people who want to remain online but are looking for a bit more safety, there are measures they can take.
First off, you will want to review your privacy settings to ensure you are only sharing what you are comfortable with. Click here to learn more about that.
Be careful not to accept friend requests from people you do not know and, along with that, it's not a bad idea to cull your list some and remove people you have only met a couple times or have not seen in many, many years.
Also, you should be mindful of what you are clicking on. Even if the link is sent from a friend or someone you trust, be sure to confirm that they sent it before clicking.
Another important thing to remember is not to share bank details or other sensitive information in media that could be hacked. Even things like your birthday, place of birth and other personal details can be used to steal your identity.
Along those lines, tagging yourself at home or work can reveal not only where you live, but when you are not currently home. The same goes for when you're on vacation, and letting the world know your house is empty is not a great idea.
Is privacy even an option? In this podcast, Kim explains how terms of service essentially killed the idea.
Are you a target of idenity thieves?
The idea being around for so long has led to plenty of security measures being put in place to stop it from happening, yet we clearly don't do enough. Then again, all the technology in the world cannot help us if we don't help ourselves. Click here to learn more security measures.