Identity Theft Threats Increase Due to Social Media Use and Free Wi-Fi Networks

Identity fraud is surging, according to a new study done by the UK-based company Cifas. What’s even scarier than that fact, though, is that there’s a strong connection between these rising numbers and social media use.

Cifas has stated that Internet fraud perpetrators are increasingly getting people’s personal information from social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, which have become a “hunting ground” for these criminals.

Also according to Cifas, some personal details were obtained through automated hacking computers, but more and more personal details were cobbled together through these social media sites.

Identity theft can have extremely serious consequences, resulting in the loss of funds and property. It can also lead to negative marks on personal records. More than one in 10 (11%) of the victims of identity theft say that it has had a negative impact on their abilities to get jobs.

Social media isn’t the only modern Internet convenience that poses a threat to personal security. In a new AARP study, findings suggest that almost half of consumers who use free, public WiFi at least once a month conduct sensitive personal business, like banking, shopping, and e-mailing.

This is usually ok — but sometimes, public networks simply aren’t secured.

As AARP’s Frank Abagnale, one of the leading experts in identity theft, forgery, and secure documents, noted, “The convenience of free wi-fi networks remains a great asset for surfing the internet or checking the news or the latest weather forecast.But consumers should never use unsecured wi-fi to log-in to social media, engage in credit card transactions, or do online banking.”

In the light of these results, AARP is launching the Fraud Watch Network campaign, which is designed to help retail stores to provide safe public Wi-Fi.

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