Social Networing Sites: Befriending Identity Theft

1134 words - 5 pages

Social networking sites are increasingly becoming one of the internet most utilized activities. However, how often does one think that their Facebook site is hazardous to their identity. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 11.7 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2010 (U.S. Dept. of Justice). Identity theft is defined as a crime where someone illegally acquires and utilizes another person’s vital information to deceive for personal gain. That same year, the Federal Trade Commission reported that identity theft crimes cost businesses and individuals an estimated $53 billion (Federal Trade Commission). Most Americans are familiar with identity theft but aren’t well-informed about the influence it has on the economy in addition to individuals. If potential victims are better educated on how social networking sites put our identities at risk, the affects identity theft has on its victims, and ways to prevent identity theft from happening while using a social networking site.

Losing one’s private information can possibly be the worst thing to ever happen or, for some, the biggest act of carelessness displayed. The average person would probably panic and hope that no one is exploiting his or her misplaced information. Well social networking sites can cause just that without you even knowing it.
Although there are numerous ways an identity can be taken social networking seems to be the most effective. A report concerning the most common ways an individual’s identity can be stolen was completed by the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. This report states that although a lost or stolen wallet is the most common way, that happens more than 28.8% of the time, it isn’t the only way. Information can be attained through friends /relatives, assessed as part of a transaction, taken by a corrupt employee at any institution used, through mail, computer spyware, virus, hackers, and email, also out of the trash (Katel, Peter). The average American ignores the risks of identity theft. Ignorance is never an excuse when something of such substantial value becomes compromised, nor does it rectify the damages.

There are many other dangers on online networks that we as individuals may know about but never think it’s possible for us. For example, anyone can pose as someone that they aren’t, many applications and features may allow strangers access to information about you, and the fact that our personal information is out in the open. But the biggest danger lies with us and the things we put out there for others. Very often people reveal more than enough information on social networking sites that can aid a person in stealing one’s identity, things like address, phone numbers, birthday and email addresses. This information alone could lead to a cushy life for an identity theft and a chaotic clean up for an innocent victim. We forget that sites like face book and Myspace can be hacked and our messages...

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