Protecting your identity online

In today’s social world, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can be a great way to connect with friends and family. However, social media sites also provide a great opportunity for identity thieves to gather more personal data, or lure you into sharing your confidential information so they can steal your identity or access your financial accounts.

Consider the tips below to minimise your risk of identity fraud when using social media by staying aware and vigilant:

  1. Check your social media security settings. Make sure that you're happy with your social media settings and be aware of what information you are making publicly available online. If you are not sure what a fraudster could see about you on social media use Equifax Social Scan. Equifax Social Scan searches around 100 key social media sites for specific personal information that’s publicly available (e.g. location and date of birth), then summarises these details in an easy to understand report. It’s included within Equifax Protect.

  2. Be careful what you share online. Are you sharing anything that would be useful to a fraudster and could compromise your identity? Who are you telling that you will be away from your home for business or on holiday? Think twice about what you share.

  3. Do you know who you are talking to? If you don’t recognise a connection or a contact check them out first before you allow them access to your social media pages. For safe social networking never share data like telephone numbers, address details, bank or credit accounts – anything that could be manipulated and lead to identity theft.

  4. Beware of phishing scams. Phishing doesn’t only take place through emails asking for personal or financial information, it can also occur through pop-ups on websites. If you’re asked to give out your personal information when using social media, i.e. account details, PINs or passwords, don’t respond it could be a scammer trying to steal your information.

  5. Use varied and complicated passwords. For better password security, use passwords over eight letters long, using upper and lower case plus number and special characters if possible. Don’t use obvious words or number sequences (e.g. password 123) or any personal details such as your children’s or pet’s names, home town or mother’s maiden name.

Equifax Protect helps alert you to potential identity theft

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