SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., July 9, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Facebook, Instagram and Twitter may be great ways to keep in touch with family and friends, but sharing too much of your life in these and other social media channels can have potentially damaging repercussions.
Active social media users are twice as likely to become victims of identity fraud, according to Javelin Strategy & Research. Javelin's 2014 Identity Fraud Study revealed that a new case of identity fraud occurred every two seconds in the United States last year, and the number of victims climbed to 13.1 million - an increase of more than 500,000 compared with the previous year.
Likewise, posting inappropriate photos or personal information online can be the difference between landing a job - and not, since employers are increasingly turning to social media sites before making hiring decisions.
"When it comes to social media, you can be your own worst enemy, so it's best to treat your online presence as a biography, not a diary," said Drew Smith, founder and CEO of InfoArmor, which helps companies and their employees detect and manage emerging fraud.
Posting family photo albums or sharing extensive details about a health condition may seem harmless on popular social sites. However, such activity can be shared more widely than individuals realize and ultimately lead to scams such as "doxing," whereby hackers harvest valuable personal information about an individual from a variety of Internet sources to hijack identities.
"Hackers are savvy in aggregating personal data into robust profiles that become the basis for credit card, medical and other fraud," Smith said. "Companies also are at grave risk from employees who click on digital ads or shop online from their office computers, because such activity helps hackers engineer their way into the organization."
Earlier this month, InfoArmor introduced an enhanced digital identity tool that conducts a real-time search of the deep Internet in seconds to uncover what information is associated with an individual's identity on social media, online public records, photo sharing sites, and more. The outcome is an easy-to-read report that summarizes the results of the search and offers a Privacy Grade with tips to secure personal information.
"The tool is a terrific way to discover what people can learn about you on the Internet," Smith said, "but it doesn't replace the need to be thoughtful and diligent in managing your online reputation."
Knowing that information can live in the social sphere forever, InfoArmor advises social media users to:
-- Use the privacy settings on Facebook and other networking sites; -- Be careful about being tagged in posts and bleeding too much information; and -- "Whitewall" social media pages regularly to edit or delete photos and posts that could be damaging or increase the risk of identity fraud.
"A good rule of thumb is to be careful about what you say online," Smith said. "What may start as an innocent post to your network of friends could end up having devastating consequences."
InfoArmor works with companies throughout the nation to provide identity protection and privacy management solutions to their employees, members and customers. The company's innovative and user-friendly services help employers and partners offer a valuable benefit, enhance their brand, improve loyalty and generate revenue, while providing stakeholders enhanced security and peace of mind. InfoArmor was established in Scottsdale, Ariz., in 2007. For more information, visit infoarmor.com.