About a year ago, I was locked out of my Facebook account. I couldn’t log in to loose time scrolling through the hundreds of posts shared by friends and co-workers. I couldn’t schedule sponsored posts. In fact, my entire page disappeared for a day. It was likely more awful than you can imagine.
The horror was caused by a hacker, who targeted my account. I learned a whole lot about Facebook identity theft through as I restored access to my account. The most important lesson? How to avoid identity theft on Facebook in the first place.
As a blogger, I am constantly trying to tweak my Facebook page to encourage more engagement. One of my favorite ways to reach fans, is to ask a question.
I am not the only one that takes this approach. Hop on Facebook at any given time and you’ll see a myriad of questions like, “Where were you born?” “What’s the name of your favorite pet?” I don’t answer these type of questions anymore.
You see, it’s likely that answering one of these seemingly benign questions is what lead to my hack. Personal details like the name of your dog, though innocent enough, makes you a target for identity theft on Facebook.
Think about it. When you open an account, in addition to provide basic information like name and address, often you set security questions, like “Where were you born?” and “What’s the name of your favorite pet?”
Identity thieves looking for potential targets lurk on popular Facebook pages looking for unsuspecting victims simply unaware of the pitfalls associated with social media. Once they have your name and date of birth (easy enough), they’re 90% to stealing your identity. Give them a few more “clues” and they’re all the way there.
Unsure of what the general public sees when they visit your Facebook page? Visit Facebook using the privacy check link.
Tips for protecting yourself from identity theft via Facebook:
- Never share your date of birth (duh). Learn more about changing your birthday settings on Facebook.
- Never share where you were born.
- Refrain from making comments that reveal too much. What’s said on Facebook, stays on Facebook…FOREVER.
- Steer clear of sharing personal information like travel dates, names of family members, where your parents were born, where you went to school, pets, etc.
- Check login locations on your account frequently. Learn more about checking your login locations on Facebook.
In the meantime, you’ll notice on my page that I’ve decided to stick to questions about movies, glitter and rockstars. Those questions, coupled with my effervescent love for Taylor Swift, YA literature and cute may cause you to suspect that I have the conversational skills of a teenager (sometimes true).
In reality, I am in part trying to protect to protect my page and my fans from serving as picking grounds for identity thieves.