Review your
own online security


What’s available for anyone to see?  When
making a social media account, you need to be cautious on what you are putting
on your profile because you don’t always know who can see it, for example personal
details like your full name, email address, your birthday, where you live, and
relationship status as well as other details about you, your family and your

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This can have detrimental impacts if this information got
into the wrong hands; people can hack into your accounts steal personal
information and it can be considered to be identity theft as well as if there
are any card or bank details then they can buy things with your money and that
can lead to debt and things like bad credit rating and history. As well as
obtaining data from online, you can access the information other ways for
example it can be as simple as bad people going through your bins finding letters
and bank statements and then applying for loans of buying items online using
your details. Some criminals attain personal details from social media accounts
such as Facebook, Snapchat or Twitter so be careful what you publish.

Current levels of security – my personal levels of security
on Facebook were on public which means any who is on Facebook can see my information
but I have now changed this as this could have severe consequences.  On Facebook there are 4 privacy settings and
they are ‘public’ which means anyone on Facebook can see what you post, ‘friends’
where only your friends on Facebook can see your information, ‘custom’ this
allows you to share things with only a few select people and lists and ‘only
me’ where no one but you can see these posts. On Snapchat, privacy settings can
be changed regarding who can send you snaps and who can view your stories- you
have two privacy options “everyone” and “my Friends.”  My current settings are set to only my friends
can send me snaps and see what I post.


Review the
information that appears on your profile

Social media sites have information that is required when
creating a profile like your birthday, where you live and email address. Identity
thieves take your personal data from the information you put on social media
profiles. Examples of info that you can put into profiles include full name/s,
date of birth, address, mobile number/s, email accounts and family details as
well as relationship status. With all this info, hackers and bad people can
steal your identity so you need to be careful you change your privacy settings
if your inputting data like this on social media. According to a recent study, 26%
of people who use social media sites say they use easy to remember passwords
such as birthdays or names.


potential impacts of your profile

The consequences of identity fraud can be bad if the thieves
gain access to your bank accounts or credit cards because they could steal all
your money and leave you with nothing pay for your everyday living costs or buy
things using your financial accounts or take out monthly contracts in your
name. Another aspect of your life that can be affected is your job. Many
employers now look at your credit history when assessing candidates and if they
see a bad credit history this might make you seem an unlikely person for the
job. Identity theft can sometimes lead to legal problems if you are the victim.
If the thief is able to secure identification in your name and is arrested for
a crime, you become the criminal and if this were to happen, the police will
start looking for you if the criminal who stole your identity does not turn up
to a court or is a suspect in other crimes.

Having your identity stole can have massive emotional impacts
for example violation, although your physical boundaries weren’t crossed, your
personal security and the safety you thought that you had has been infringed.
Identity theft may not be 100% your fault however you may be a little bit to
blame for your own identity theft because you’ve uploaded personal data and
shared it publicly, making it easier for hackers to get hold of. More importantly,
just because you shared that information on certain social media sites does not
mean that you deserve what the thief has done or planned. The offense and crime
is his fault, not yours, and you shouldn’t be embarrassed.


In terms of who can help you or who you can contact if you
think you have been the victim of identity fraud, the main source would be to contact
the Police. It has been debated that many victims reported that the Police
would not even take an identity theft report seriously. If you have spotted a transaction
from your account that you know wasn’t you or from an unknown shop then you
should contact your bank in the first instance.

If you are uncertain on how to proceed after being a target
of identify fraud you may want to talk to someone from Citizen’s Advice Bureau

There is also a charity that has been put in place to help people
who have had their identities stolen called Charity Victim Support and this
provides help and advice to people who have fallen victim to a wide range of
different crimes.

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