Money Monday: Why Identity Thieves Love Your Online Profiles

BY: - 25 Feb '13 | Money

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It appears the days of Bonnie and Clyde are behind us as the FBI reports a steady decline in the number of bank robberies.

We shouldn’t be surprised though. Why use a gun and mask when you can simply steal someone’s identity and money using a home computer? In 2011 alone, identity fraud increased by 13 percent with more than 11.6 million Americans becoming victims.

And it appears the largest group of targets are those using LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, and Facebook. These sights and a host of similar social media destinations hold a treasure trove of personal information that thieves use to steal and/or verify your identity.

LinkedIN users, in particular, seem to have the most to worry about. A full 10% of those who use the online professional networking site reported being a victim of identity fraud.

IT security firm Sophos performed a study to determine how easy it is to steal identities via Facebook. Surprisingly the security firm found that people not only readily give away their own personal information, but the information of their family and friends as well.

“People aren’t just handing over their own life story to criminals. They’re betraying people close to them too, helping those cybercrooks build up a detailed picture of their life and their milieu. This is an identity scammer’s dream,” warned Paul Ducklin, Sophos head of technology.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

Remember, the people who friend you on Facebook or connect with you on LinkIN could be identity thieves. Be careful with your personal information. No one needs to know the name of your high school, the model of your first car, or the name of your first girlfriend/boyfriend (all common security questions used by ID thieves). And when personal information is needed online provide only the minimum. You seldom need to submit your full birth-date, for instance.

Finally, in this day and age it pays to monitor your credit card, bank accounts, and credit reports. According to the Javelin report, 43 percent of fraud was first discovered by the victim.

Remember, it’s fun being social but shady characters could be “listening” in on your conversation.

BMWK — Have you ever been a victim of identity theft? Do you unwittingly give away personal information online?

About the author

Alonzo Peters wrote 257 articles on this blog.

Alonzo Peters is founder of MochaMoney.com, a personal finance website dedicated to helping Black America achieve financial independence.

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BMe Offers $20,000 Grants to Black Men

BY: - 25 Feb '13 | Money

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Photo Credit: BMe

Photo Credit: BMe

So many great ideas start with a vision but sometimes a vision isn’t enough. Most often great visions require hard work, dedication, and money in order to come to fruition. That’s where BMe comes into the picture. This network of men operates under the commitment to make their “communities stronger.”

These men come from all walks of life and hold various roles including fathers, coaches, and students. Not only are they active participants in their communities but they are also business minded and support our youth by mentoring them. The BMe community is open to men who would like to connect with “like minded” brothers. In addition to offering connections, BMe is also offering a grant.

“From January 23 to February 28, 2013, black men who live in Baltimore, Detroit or Philadelphia and have uploaded a video testimonial of what they do to make their community stronger can fill out an application at bmecommunity.org for a chance at grants of up to $20,000.”

Visit BMe online to learn about this exciting opportunity!

BMWK — Share with us, how are you making a difference in your community?

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BMWK Staff wrote 1166 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com

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