Being active on social media can help older adults stay connected with friends and family and feel more relevant in a fast-paced online culture but some of the fluff that goes along with sites like Facebook can leave users open to fraud and identity theft.
According to a recent CBC News report, social media quizzes that reveal what your royal name is may seem harmless but in fact could be used by hackers to collect information that is commonly also used in security questions. This allows scammers to build a profile that could open the door for account breaches or even open lines of credit in your name. Quizzes that ask for the name of your first pet, your childhood home or the make and model of your first car should send up red flags.
Most of these security risk questions will be scattered across a wide array of online quizzes and scammers can collect data, gradually building enough information to carry out a fraud scheme. Experts recommend social media users avoid participating in any online quiz. And if for some reason filling out quizzes is irresistible, use fake information because once your data is released, it can’t be recalled.
Older adults should also be informed about how much data their smartphones are collecting and sharing. Deleting apps that aren’t necessary, limiting tracking while apps are not in use with privacy settings and consolidating apps where possible are a few ways to limit your exposure to fraud. Tripwire suggests using more unique, stronger passwords and taking advantage of two-factor authentication which will generate and send a code to another device in order to log into an account. And, avoid sharing or storing or any personal information on social media. It’s also a good idea to regularly check bank and credit card statements and at least once a year, request a credit report.
According to a recent Javelin Strategy & Research study, 14.4 million U.S. victims of identify fraud lost $1.7 billion in 2018: 3.3 million people were responsible for some of the liability of the fraud committed against them. But good digital hygiene habits can reduce the risk of hacking and identity theft. Learn more about how to protect your digital life by following this link to Virginia Tech Magazine.