In my novel, my character has to deal with the consequences of identity theft, don’t you become a victim too.

We all know about Phishing which is when hackers attempt to acquire information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by pretending to be someone or some trustworthy entity.

This is still a growing threat but for some time now there have been warnings relating to the amount of personal information we make available on social media such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Hackers use these sites to take personal and security information that can damage the user or the user’s employer if a breach happens in a workplace environment.

Scammers have the chance to access personal information such as passwords, usernames, security codes, and credit card numbers among other things. Their access can then spread through your social networks so be careful and think through decisions as to whom to ‘friend.’

Once the scammer friends you, each of your friends may receive a request and think the scammer is a real person. Getting a friend request from a friend-of-a-friend is not uncommon and in this way attacks spread in a very short time through a process of upward contamination, in which the scammer will steal information from your real online friends, then their online friends, and so on. Your actions can inadvertently expose dozens of your friends and contacts to aggressive identity thieves.

My advice is, be much more careful when you make friending decisions. Only friend people you actually know. And of course limit the amount and types of personal information you share on social media.

Internet related scams are on the rise and will continue to increase as the popularity of social media grows. Do not believe that financial harm cannot be caused by Facebook and other social media usage.

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