Social media sites could lead to identity theft | Better Business Bureau

Whether it’s giving online birthday wishes, connecting with former classmates or gaming with friends, social media has become a powerful networking tool for businesses, consumers and, now more than ever, crooks.

Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington warns of new tricks aimed at stealing the personal information of not only online users but their contacts, too.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, consumers lost more than $780 million last year because of internet crime; nearly 50% more than in 2012. With recent data breaches and more online sharing, BBB advises social networkers to click cautiously.

  • Post with care. Avoid sharing private information publicly. Steer clear of posting birthdates, family names and relatives’ information online.
  • Check privacy policies. Read and understand how websites use information they collect and be sure it’s never sold to an outside party.
  • Keep guard. Games, quizzes and surveys are fun, but if they require entering personal information, don’t respond and stop playing.
  • Click with caution. Avoid following links that are unsolicited, even if they appear on a social media page. One wrong click could lead to unwanted sites or add malware to a computer.
  • Block the fakes. Beware of fake social media profiles that appear to be using the names of friends. Be cautious about “friending” people.
  • Strengthen passwords. Change passwords frequently, at least once every six months. Use long phrases, numbers and a symbol to help prevent hackers gaining access to accounts.

Visit StopThinkConnect for more information on how to stay safe online, and connect with BBB and its Social Hub for the latest news and consumer alerts.

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