Social media is great for keeping in touch with friends, learning what’s going on in the world and getting into interesting conversations. But it can also be a very dangerous place to be, especially when it comes to privacy.
Even if you are the most careful internet and social media user, hackers, phishers and those looking to steal identities are always out there. They wait for the slightest indiscretion, and then pounce. And they are very, very good at what they do.
We highly recommend adhering to stringent social media practices to protect yourself online. And for supplementary protection, identity theft insurance is a comprehensive and affordable endorsement you can add to your home insurance policy that can greatly ease headaches if you are taken advantage of. Identity theft is serious, ruining credit ratings, causing huge amounts of stress and even costing you your hard-earned reputation.
What Identity Theft Insurance Can Do For You
Cleaning up after an incident of identity theft can be extremely expensive, take several years, and even require litigation. Identity theft insurance is specifically designed to provide the support you need, when you need it.
Common components of identity theft insurance include:
- Coverage for any income lost as the result of the crime
- Coverage for legal fees in the case litigation is required
- Coverage for costs associated with notarizing documentation and/or affidavits
- Coverage for loan and credit card reapplication fees
- Coverage for government identification restoration fees
- Coverage for credit reports (up to certain specified limits)
- Coverage for telecommunications and postal/courier service costs incurred during the identity restoration process
Essentially, identity theft insurance has your back if you are ever a victim. But the best defence is to not become a victim in the first place.
How do Social Media Networks Make You Vulnerable?
According to Statista.com, from 2010 to 2017 occurrences of identity theft nearly quadrupled, increasing from 2.37 to 8.9 incidences per 100,000 people. We can probably safely assume that the numbers have risen even more since then.
The more people educate themselves on what to expect from fraudsters and how to avoid them altogether, the better. The nature of social media sites and their tendency to incite over-sharing makes them the perfect hunting grounds for those looking to steal data from others.
An Entrepreneurs Organization article titled “How Social Media Networks Facilitate Identity Theft and Fraud” describes the ways in which social media can make people particularly vulnerable to fraud on many levels.
Social media sites encourage (and in many cases demand) that users share as much information as possible … often more than is comfortable. They do this because the more they know about you the better developers can target advertising directly at you, which, of course, generates more revenue. It’s simply about profit.
In addition, given the huge amounts of information social media sites store, they themselves are constantly being bombarded by hackers looking to break through firewalls and mine for data. In 2018, Facebook experienced its largest data breach ever, and it’s more than likely access will eventually be gained again.
Information you should not ever provide to build your profile or post on your feed includes:
- Your full name (especially including your middle name)
- Your date of birth (often this is required to register but you can hide it from your profile … or simply fib)
- Your hometown
- Schools you have attended (and particularly the dates you graduated)
- Relationship statuses
- Pet names
- Groups, clubs, or affiliations you belong to or may have
Don’t forget About Burglars, Too
People posting status updates about being on vacation (and therefore not at home) fling their privacy door wide open to criminals, who are opportunists as part of their trade. If you have a public profile, have posted a number of photos of your house (including expensive items you may own), mentioned your neighbourhood as well as nearby schools and landmarks, well, it’s pretty easy for burglars to figure out exactly where to go to find a nice, empty house where there’s very little risk of being caught. That’s why you should limit posts of this kind and always make sure to have your privacy settings set so that only your friends can see your posts (not even friends of friends), and, of course, make sure you actually know the people you accept friend requests from.
Protect Yourself from Identity Theft
If you think you might be a victim of identity theft, first notify all of the financial institutions you deal with to inform them of the situation. You will be advised of further steps to take. Also contact the police as quickly as possible to file a report. And finally, call your identity theft insurance provider to start the claims process.
At Lane’s Insurance, we offer low-cost identity theft insurance for Calgary residents and people throughout Alberta. Identity theft can strike anyone at any time, and even if you think you aren’t at risk, it’s better to be protected than to take an unnecessary risk. If you’d like to learn more about our identity theft insurance policies, or if you have any other insurance-related questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer complete solutions for all of your personal and commercial insurance needs.