Unexpected Ways Your Identity Can Be Stolen Online

June 3, 2019

© Jakub Jirsák | Dreamstime

You work hard to keep your personal information out of the hands of scammers.  From intricate passwords to updating your security software. But there may be some online activity that seems harmless but could be just enough for a hacker to steal your identity. One of the biggest mistake involves oversharing personal information on social media. Many social networking sites ask you to fill out basic information about yourself, such as where you live, where you work, your birthday, and who your family members are. Even if your profile is set to private, limit the identifying information you share on social media. As convenient as it is to have websites store your credit card information for purchases, it is safer for you to manually enter your credit card number, expiration date and security code each time you make a purchase. One very innocent way to let your guard down is by answering fun quizzes online. Some quizzes ask personal questions—such as where did you grow up?, and who was your childhood pet?—similar queries to the security questions you find on a bank website’s login page. Instead of deleting that information once it’s entered, many quizzes save your answers, which means they can be used by hackers for identity theft. The next time you take a personality quiz online, think carefully about what your answers may reveal about you. Sometimes all a hacker needs to do to find sensitive information about you is search your name. The easiest way to minimize your presence in search engine results is to find web pages with your name and delete them (or ask for them to be deleted) when possible. If you see a search result for a page you know you’ve already gotten rid of, you can submit a request directly to the search engine asking them to remove the out-of-date information. One you may have never thought about is your fitness trackers. Information like your heart rate and daily step count may not be of much use to hackers, but the movement of your hands is a different story. According to one study, if your wear a fitness tracker while entering your smartphone passcode or ATM PIN number, hackers can use that motion information to guess your code within a few tries with more than 90 percent accuracy. So when you’re about to do something you wouldn’t want a hacker to see, make sure you’re not wearing a device that tracks your every move.

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SOURCE: Mental Floss

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