Starts at 60 member Karen was shocked yesterday when, after a busy day, she found herself seeing double. No, she wasn’t going mad or had discovered a long-lost twin sister, Karen had her identity stolen.
The person had targeted Karen (most likely at random) and had created a new profile using her name, photos and information. She looked like Karen, but something was off. Luckily for Karen, her friends smelt something fishy as earlier she had announced she was going to be out all day and uncontactable.
Some of Karen’s friends who were added successfully received strange messages from the person pretending to be her – including a promise of giving someone $200,000.
When Karen arrived home to find out about her identity being stolen, she promptly said this to her friends on her real profile:
CALLING ALL MY REAL FACEBOOK FRIENDS
I have not sent anyone a request to become a friend on another profile. I have just changed my profile picture so a pink oriental lily is the real me. I’ve reported this to Facebook. So much for the new beaut virus checker. The second time in only a short time – wish they would choose someone else.
So how does this sort of thing happen and how can you stop fraudulent accounts from appearing?
Don’t put your date of birth and current location on Facebook
According to the master of identity theft, Frank Abagnale Jr., if you’ve put this information on your profile, a hacker is 98 per cent of the way to assuming your identity.
Be suspicious of messages you receive
The way identity theft begins is by becoming the victim of someone else’s. If you click a link that someone sends you in a strange message, this will put you on the hackers’ radar. Try to alert your friend by other means if you think their messages seem a bit odd.
Change your privacy settings
There’s a whole stack of security settings on your Facebook and you might not be using them. You can block anyone who doesn’t have mutual friends with you from adding you, and you can also set your photo albums to only being able to be viewed by your friends you have approved.
Stop geotagging your photos or checking in
This isn’t a necessary process, and again, it makes it easy to steal your identity and convince your nearest and dearest that they are you.
Facebook is generally a safe place however there are some who can ruin it for you. If you are the victim of Facebook identity theft, you can report the fake profile and it should be taken down quickly.
Have you ever been the victim of identity theft? What happened and how was it dealt with?