Identity theft is still causing us problems, and part of the reason is that we are too free with the information we share with others on-line. According to Experian more than a quarter of us have shared our full name and date of birth on a social media site, and less than half of us have different passwords for each of our online accounts. More worryingly, around half of those who have been affected by online theft didn’t change their password afterwards and only twenty percent changed the way they shared information online after they had their identity stolen.
Peter Turner, Managing Director, Experian Consumer Services UK&I, said: “It’s amazing to see how many people are not aware just how much of their personally-identifiable information is available online, and also how willing they were to share even more information to people they didn’t know and trust. In the wrong hands, this information could all be used directly to commit identity theft or sold onto fraudsters. While we enjoy all the web has to offer, it’s essential we’re vigilant in protecting our online identities, too. Exercising caution when sharing your information and making some simple changes to your online behaviour are key to helping protect yourself from becoming a victim of identity theft.”
There is a lot that you can do to help ensure that you can protect yourself online. Be aware of who has your personal information. You also need to consider how much of your information you really need to share with the organisation looking for it. Think about the details you share on your social media profiles and check of your profiles to make sure you’re only revealing a level of information you’re comfortable with. Set your social media privacy settings to high and make sure the people you befriend on social networks are people you know and trust. Use different, strong passwords for each of your online accounts – passwords should have a minimum of 10 characters and avoid words from the dictionary. Disable auto-fill settings on all your devices so that you’re only sharing your information consciously.