MONEY privacy

The New Technology Advertisers Use to Track Everything You Do

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vm—Getty Images

The FTC is currently accepting public comments on the tracking programs.

Several years ago, you may have reached the Internet through only a desktop or laptop computer, where advertisers could gather information on your activities and interests through cookies that tracked the places you visited online.

Today, you may be using a laptop, a tablet, a mobile phone and a desktop to roam the Web. Add a wireless fitness gadget or other connected device and it gets very challenging for companies to seamlessly track where you’ve been and to judge the effectiveness of their online advertisements.

To better keep tabs on your online movements in the multiple-device age, advertisers are turning to cross-device tracking programs, which help them determine if, say, you opened your laptop to buy the product that was advertised on your smartphone. While the technology may hold benefits for marketers and consumers, it’s also raising privacy concerns.

Cybersecurity and privacy attorney Michael Morgan, of counsel at Jones Day, says mobile advertising agencies are looking to cross-device tracking to better show clients the value of mobile advertising “and to be able to point to desktop purchases or purchases on iPads that may have been the result of advertisements that were first presented to consumers on a smartphone or other device.”

“As more of our lives migrate to the online world, companies are able to have a more clear picture and better understanding of their customers and potential customers,” says Morgan.

That could benefit consumers in certain ways. Say you start shopping at your favorite e-tailer on your home computer, then abandon your cart and later try to finish your purchase on your phone. The website may be able to tailor your experience so you don’t have to re-add items to your shopping cart or re-enter credit card information.

But to get that level of convenience, you will have to give up some privacy. “The privacy advocates have raised some concerns about the level of information, or the amount of information [that] currently can be known about a consumer from all of their various online activities,” says Morgan.

Sign of a post-cookie world
The Federal Trade Commission will hold a workshop Nov. 16 to explore privacy issues, security risks and potential benefits arising from cross-device tracking of consumers for advertising and marketing purposes. “With the advent of new tracking methods … it’s important to ensure that consumers’ privacy remains protected as businesses seek to target them across multiple devices,” said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a news release in March.

The agency noted the decreasing effectiveness of cookies in tracking consumers’ online activities. “A cookie may paint an incomplete picture of the consumer who switches between different Web browsers at home and at work. Further, a cookie stored on a consumer’s browser cannot provide insight into the consumer’s activities or preferences within the ‘sandboxed’ apps on the consumer’s phone,” the FTC said.

Attorney and data privacy expert Michael Whitener, a partner in the VLP Law Group in Washington, D.C., sees significance in the FTC’s decision to hold the workshop. “It reflects the fact that we’re entering a post-cookie world, and so the FTC is trying to get a handle on the privacy implications of the new cross-device tracking technologies,” he says.

The self-regulatory industry group Network Advertising Initiative, meanwhile, has said it will issue guidance on cross-device, interest-based advertising and has asked its members to provide comments on the relevant standards, according to Whitener. The NAI recently issued member guidance on use of non-cookie technologies but explicitly said it doesn’t cover cross-device identification or data collection yet, says Whitener.

Logins and ‘digital fingerprints’
The industry uses different approaches to try to follow consumers. It can be as simple as requiring you to log in to a site or service from whatever device you’re using. But there are also complex analytics programs that assemble user characteristics to try to identify you from one device to another.

This “probabilistic” tracking method involves the collection of such information as device type, operating system, fonts and Internet Protocol address “to create a digital fingerprint to link a user to different devices,” the FTC says. This kind of tracking “is generally invisible to consumers and, unlike tracking through cookies, the consumer has no ability to control it. Accordingly, this practice raises a number of privacy concerns and questions.”

Digital Advertising Association Executive Director Lou Mastria considers cross-device privacy an emerging area for the industry, which has been focused most recently on mobile-environment privacy issues. The group will conduct a review of what cross-device means and what privacy protections can be provided, he told CreditCards.com.

The Better Business Bureau, the DAA’s partner in applying industry self-regulatory policies, issued a compliance warning in 2014 noting that the DAA’s privacy principles are enforceable “irrespective of the technology employed to collect and use consumer web surfing activity to serve interest-based ads.”

Attorney Whitener says he agrees with the position that privacy principles should apply regardless of the tracking technologies being used. He thinks the industry’s self-policing may ward off any new regulations. “The FTC may well take the position it took after its workshop on the Internet of Things, which is that specific legislation would be premature and could stifle innovation in this area.”

Opting out
While there are a number of up-and-coming tracking companies, BlueCava, Tapad, and Drawbridge are the big names, Whitener says. The firms gather various pieces of information about Internet users to try to connect them to specific devices. They also offer opt-out mechanisms.

Tapad, for instance, says on its website that its proprietary technology “assimilates billions of data points to find the human relationship between smartphones, desktops, laptops, tablets, connected TVs and game consoles.” The firm says its algorithms provide “the highest possible probability that devices are related.”

Among the data it may collect is an “obfuscated user identifier, such as email address, but only to evaluate the probability and nature of connections between devices, never to identify the individual.” The firm says it’s involved in developing industrywide standards for consumer privacy, including clear notice and opt-out choices complying with the Digital Advertising Alliance program for advertising linked to consumer online behavior.

“Notice plus opt-out opportunity is the gold standard in the current environment,” says Whitener.

Consumers should keep in mind, however, that the clients of these technology firms — the websites you interact with — will have their own privacy policies, which could allow for data collection beyond what the vendor’s policy provides, according to Whitener. Ideally, the website will spell out both how it and its service providers collect data, he says.

Writing on the International Association of Privacy Professionals blog early this year, Whitener suggested that digital marketers be fully transparent regarding their data collection and consumer tracking practices; that they provide clear opt-out abilities; and that they be cautious about making no-personal-information-collected claims.

“Privacy policies commonly assert that cookies used by a website operator collect no personal information or that data collected is ‘anonymous,'” Whitener wrote. “That assertion may not be true of some cross-device ID methods, which enable identification of specific individuals.”

Consumers speak out
The FTC is accepting public comments on cross-device tracking, and several citizens have written to oppose tracking and call for the ability to easily opt out.

“I am opposed to any tracking by any entity,” wrote Blanche Wallace of Florida. “If I desire a product or service, I am quite capable of locating a provider. There should be a quick, easy, and obvious way to opt out of tracking.”

Jonathan Bernstein of Illinois wrote: “The most obvious thing to do would be to require any company that tracks any consumer to notify the consumer exactly who is tracking, what is being tracked, and where that data can be shared, each time the consumer logs onto a site that is party to tracking, either with a pop-up window or an email, in real-time at the point of tracking.”

The question, Whitener says, is how companies achieve meaningful notice and choice. “If the consumer has to dig through a long and jargon-filled privacy policy to learn how personal information is collected, how it’s used, and how to opt out of that collection and use, it’s not very meaningful,” Whitener says. “I like the ‘surprise minimization’ principle that California has endorsed: If consumer data is being collected and used in unexpected ways, the ad industry has an obligation to take extra steps to alert the consumer.”

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TIME celebrities

Bill Cosby Fights to Maintain Confidentiality of ‘Embarrassing’ Court Records

Bill Cosby during an interview in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014.
Evan Vucci—AP Bill Cosby during an interview in Washington on Nov. 6, 2014.

An obscure rule allows the unsealing of court records after two years

On Wednesday, Bill Cosby told a Pennsylvania judge he’s not a public figure, there’s “no legitimate public interest” in an old sex abuse lawsuit, and confidentiality should be maintained on materials described as posing a “real, specific threat of serious embarrassment.”

This all dates back to a dispute that ended nine years ago. There, the embattled comedian settled a lawsuit brought by Andrea Constand, who was the first woman to publicly come forward with allegations that he drugged and sexually assaulted her. The settlement happened in the midst of discovery as Cosby confronted charges that there were other women who were victims.

After the settlement happened, the Associated Press filed motions to intervene to challenge the sealing of certain motions brought in the case. At the time, the judge agreed with Cosby’s arguments about why various discovery motions — including ones that talked about Cosby’s deposition — shouldn’t be open to the media.

Last December, amid a media frenzy as more women came forward to accuse Cosby of sexual abuse, the AP sent a letter to the court demanding a review of the sealing order under a local rule of civil procedure that presumes an unsealing of records after two years unless the judge dictates otherwise.

That’s led to a new showdown over materials that according to Cosby’s brief on Wednesday, not only includes more about the sexual misconduct allegations, but also issues relating to Cosby’s health, use of prescription drugs, financial affairs and personal relationships.

Cosby’s attorney George Gowen argues there is no public right to access discovery motions and would violate his client’s privacy.

“Moreover, unlike a deposition in a typical case, there is a voracious media appetite for Defendant’s deposition, and public release of it would quickly become widespread public knowledge of it,” states the brief. “There is no doubt that public disclosure of the motions and Defendant’s sworn deposition testimony, which delves into the most intimate subjects imaginable, would generate a firestorm of publicity.”

Although the rules might be set up towards the presumption of public access to judicial records, the brief further argues that he “is not a public official, nor is the relevant information important to public health or safety… Defendant’s status as a well-known comedian and entertainer does not render him a ‘public’ person within the meaning of the law.”

Cosby’s attorney later argues that lifting the seal would undermine the settlement with Constand, interfere with a defamation lawsuit brought against Cosby in Massachusetts, and takes a shot at reporters by saying “the media has had no apparent difficulty flooding the airwaves and press with reports on this story, even without access to the discovery materials. Nor is there any credible argument that public knowledge of the details of those motions will serve some public purpose.”

The AP argues otherwise in its own brief.

“The defendant is the only party who objects to unsealing the record,” writes the wire service. “However, now that the circumstances that he relied upon to gain preliminary sealing in this matter are nothing more than historic references, bypassed by recent public events, the files at issue should be unsealed.”

The judge is asked to consider the fact that Constand is not objecting, the “Jane Doe” accusers in the original suit have publicly come forward, there’s no longer a jury pool to be tainted, and “the Court has already ruled, in accordance with firmly established precedent, that defendant’s fear of embarrassment and humiliation is insufficient to support a finding a good cause.”

The AP adds that Cosby is “unquestionably a public figure” and his conduct “a legitimate matter for public scrutiny.”

This article originally appeared on The Hollywood Reporter

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MONEY privacy

How Your State Is Helping Scammers Rip You Off

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Steve Shepard—Getty Images

Unclaimed property records are easy targets for fraudsters.

As cybercriminals become more skilled, the privacy practices at many organizations have not kept apace. In the State Compendium of Unclaimed Property Practices that I’ve compiled, I found this to be the case at many state treasuries where the data exposed provides fraudsters with a crime exacta: claiming money that no one will ever miss and gathering various nuggets of personal data that can help facilitate other types of identity theft.

First, you have to understand what “unclaimed funds” are and how they work. Our states are responsible for ensuring unclaimed property makes it into the right hands. Twice a year, organizations like banks and insurance companies report uncollected payouts to their state’s Unclaimed Property Office. From there, the debt is published in a local newspaper, and if it remains unclaimed, the property (funds, stocks, commodities, etc.) has to be surrendered to the state for safekeeping until a claim is made.

Two years ago, there was a total of $58 billion in unclaimed property nationwide. In theory, it’s safe. You need to be able to identify yourself and go through a verification process to collect the money. However, because Social Security numbers and other personally identifiable information (PII) are increasingly easy to find on the dark web, consumers are faced with a potential fraud-frenzy not unlike the spike in stolen tax refunds of recent years. It takes a good deal of information for a fraudster to claim funds that rightfully belong to you, but the danger of PII on unclaimed funds sites cuts both ways – fraudsters can find out that you have unclaimed money and try to gather other information about you in order to claim it, or they can use the information from the unclaimed funds sites to build a dossier on you and target you for other scams.

This is not a hypothetical problem. Interestingly, the first explanations of the issue in a simple Google search (i.e., unclaimed funds identity theft) came not from a state treasury, but a site called Scambusters. One common scheme involves charging a fee to “locate” your unclaimed property. In the process, the swindler grabs personally identifiable information that can be used to commit identity theft. Stories about stolen unclaimed funds abound. In 2011, a Houston woman was convicted for stealing almost $500,000 in tax refunds and unclaimed funds. According to KHOU.com, “Officials said Thomas used public databases to locate the names of the people owed money, then used their personal information to claim the funds.” Texas scored a lone star in the compendium—the worst ranking here.

This has become an issue because of data breaches. News is still trickling out about the millions of federal employees whose personally identifiable information was exposed to hackers because of shoddy data security at the Office of Personnel Management. Between the breach at Anthem that leaked Social Security numbers and the Premera breach that leaked far more specific information (in addition to SSNs), almost 100 million records were stolen. The recent IRS revelation that fraudsters essentially walked through the digital front door and stole $50 million in tax refunds using information accessed in its “Get Transcript” application highlighted the need for more stringent processes at government agencies. That swindle, like so many others, was made possible by a seemingly never-ending string of breaches. The fraudsters had enough information to game the IRS verification process. The same approach could be used with unclaimed funds.

While I am focusing here on the state offices responsible for unclaimed funds, knock on any organization’s door these days and you will find data security and privacy issues.

According to some estimates, there are more (perhaps significantly more) than a billion records “out there.” Therefore, it is crucial that organizations entrusted with our personal information do everything possible to limit our exposure, especially when our money (as well as the integrity of our identities) is on the line.

The compendium found that more than half the country could be doing a better job. Thirty-six states had practices that exposed more personal information than was necessary—ranked “Not Good” (28) or “Bad” (8)—exposing various kinds of data that fraudsters can use to build the type of personal information dossier on an individual (or even a celebrity, we found) that facilitates the commission of identity theft.

What Can We Do About It?

For Consumers: Get your money now! Visit your state’s unclaimed property site as soon as possible to see if you have a claim, and if you do, go through the process before your evil twin does. And, as always, stay vigilant. Just because you don’t have unclaimed funds doesn’t mean a scammer can’t get to you other ways. Monitor your financial accounts regularly for unauthorized charges, and keep an eye on your credit reports and scores for signs of new-account fraud.

For States: Respect your fiduciary duty to protect us and expose less PII in the verification process.

How does your state measure up? Click here to read the full State Compendium of Unclaimed Property Practices.

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MONEY Travel

Uber’s Promises of Privacy Ring Hollow, Says Group

The Electronic Privacy Information Center says Uber isn't upfront about the rider information it will be able to collect.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, says it is concerned about Uber’s privacy. The group says the app’s ability to track a user’s location – even when the app is closed – is a big concern. Uber says users will be in control of what data is shared with the company. Uber is a location-based app; the GPS signal in your phone is what tells a driver where to pick you up. EPIC is asking the FTC to stop Uber from rolling out its new policy and investigate the company for compliance with various privacy laws.

Read next: Uber’s Drivers Are Employees, According to California

TIME apps

Why Facebook’s New Photo App Isn’t Coming Out in Europe

Views of The Facebook Inc. Logo Ahead of Earnings
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Regulators are wary of facial recognition software

Facebook rolled out a new photo-sharing app in the U.S. this week, but it won’t come out in Europe in the near future due to concerns over how it uses facial recognition technology.

The app, called Moments, allows users to share photos with each other privately based around specific events and uses facial recognition software to detect which friends are in a given photo.

The technology, which is used to offer photo tagging suggestions on Facebook proper, is automatically set to be used on all users in the U.S. However, in Europe, Facebook will be forced to make facial scanning and tagging an opt-in feature, Facebook head of policy Richard Allen told the Wall Street Journal. Moments could roll out in Europe after the company develops an opt-in process.

This is not the first time European regulators have pushed back against Facebook’s practices. Belgium is currently suing the social network over its privacy policies and the European Union as a whole are drafting a new law that would increase regulators’ power to control Facebook’s activities, along with other websites.

TIME privacy

WhatsApp Comes Up Short Protecting User Data, Privacy Watchdog Says

Fackbook Acquires WhatsApp For $16 Billion
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images The Facebook and WhatsApp app icons are displayed on an iPhone on February 19, 2014 in San Francisco City.

Electronic Frontier Foundation evaluated the way dozens of companies handle user data

WhatsApp lags behind its consumer tech peers when it comes to protecting user data from government requests, according to a prominent privacy advocacy group.

In its annual Who Has Your Back? report, the Electronic Frontier Foundation awarded WhatsApp just one out of four stars when evaluating it across various categories concerning data protection. According to the EFF, WhatsApp doesn’t publish a transparency report detailing requests it’s received from the government, doesn’t promise to provide users advance notice of government data requests and doesn’t disclose its data retention policies. The messaging app does oppose creating purposeful security weaknesses known as backdoors that let government officials stealthily gather user data. Opposition to backdoor policies has become common among consumer the tech giants.

On the other end of the spectrum, tech companies such as Adobe, Dropbox, WordPress and Yahoo received a five out of five rating from the EFF (unlike most of the companies, WhatsApp was only evaluated in four categories). These firms are doing a good job of providing users with transparency about their interactions with the government, according to the EFF’s evaluation.

Among the major cable, phone and Internet providers, AT&T performed the worst, netting just one star out of four. Sonic.net, an Internet Service Provider in the San Francisco bay area, earned five out of five stars.

Facebook, WhatsApp’s owner, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

MONEY privacy

1 in 4 Americans Would Share Their DNA With Their Bank

test tube with DNA sequence
Zmeel Photography—Getty Images

We'd do just about anything to keep fraudsters at bay.

For most Americans, the username-password security feature isn’t good enough anymore. A quarter of consumers said they’d share their DNA with their bank, if it meant greater security for their personal and financial information, according to a survey from Telstra, a telecommunications and information services company in Australia.

About two-thirds of Americans surveyed also said they would prefer their smartphones use biometrics (i.e. a fingerprint) as the gatekeeper of secure information.

The Telstra data is based on a survey of 318 financial services executives in Europe, the U.S. and the Asia Pacific region and 4,272 consumers in seven countries — it’s unclear what share of the responses came from the U.S. or what the margin of error is.

According to the data, more than half of U.S. consumers said security of their finances and personal information is their top priority when choosing a financial institution, over things like interest rates and ease of accessing funds, which are traditionally important considerations when choosing a bank. Given the increasing popularity of mobile banking — a recent report from Javelin Strategy & Research said only 17% of consumers prefer to visit a bank branch to access their checking accounts — it makes sense that consumers would want to know there’s more than a username and password between whoever is holding their phones and their financial information.

Biometric security includes things like voice, facial, fingerprint and iris recognition, ideally ensuring only you can access your bank account on the mobile device. Many of the newest smartphones are capable of biometric security, making the features seem within reach for financial institutions.

Even if your banking app isn’t yet asking for your fingerprints, there are a lot of things you can do to increase your security. First, it’s a good idea to password-protect your phone, because your personal information isn’t limited to your banking app, and you don’t want anyone accessing that without your permission. On top of that, it’s crucial you look at information security from multiple angles: Monitor your bank accounts and credit information for signs of unauthorized activity, because despite your best efforts, it’s likely a fraudster will access and abuse your personal information at some point. As soon as you identify suspicious activity — for example, you’re checking your credit score and it dropped dozens of points for no reason you can think of — immediately investigate the problem. The sooner you alert your financial service providers and the credit reporting agency to unauthorized activity, the faster you’re likely to recover from any damage the fraudster caused. You can monitor your credit scores for free on Credit.com every month.

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TIME cyber

Continued Hacking Highlights U.S-Chinese Cyberwar Worries

Latest episode, linked to Beijing involves data on 4 million Americans

The latest massive computer hack suggests the Chinese had it right: it may be time for the U.S. to build a great wall to protect its data and that of 320 million Americans. That’s why the U.S. secretly expanded the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program to root out hackers in 2012. But, as a rash of recent data breaches makes clear, the hackers retain the upper hand.

U.S. officials said Thursday they believe that Chinese hackers penetrated federal computer networks and plundered personal information on more than 4 million current and former U.S. workers. That makes it among the largest theft of U.S. government data in history, with federal officials warning the total could grow as their probe continues. U.S. officials said the hack appears similar to others that have been made into private companies’ networks, including data on 80 million Americans pilfered from the Anthem insurance company, suggesting a widespread Chinese effort.

The Internet, made up of millions of computers and servers, only works if they can communicate easily with one another. Every password, firewall or other internal barrier built into the system to keep hackers out pushes it closer to grinding to a halt. That’s why, just like with your money, more valuable data is more heavily guarded. While the alleged Chinese hackers apparently got basic personal information—names, addresses, Social Security numbers—they apparently didn’t get into tougher-to-access personnel files that contained sensitive information that is routinely collected during background checks.

The government used its Einstein anti-hacking system to detect the breach. The Department of Homeland Security calls it “an intrusion detection and prevention system that screens federal Internet traffic to identify potential cyber threats.”

The FBI is investigating the intrusion, which involved the federal Office of Personnel Management, responsible for overseeing the personnel records of U.S. employees. The bureau believes the attack originated in China, but either lacks, or is unwilling to share, the evidence that pinpoints the nation. Attributing the source of such attacks is difficult, and the U.S. doesn’t know if this one were carried out by the government, by some entity working for the government, or hackers independent of the government.

While U.S. officials have linked the thefts to China because of the peculiar hacking techniques and computer addresses involved, they haven’t been able to come up with a motive. The data haven’t shown up on the black market. China denied any role in the hack. “If you keep using the words ‘maybe’ or ‘perhaps’ without making a thorough study, this is irresponsible and unscientific,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said.

The U.S. hasn’t been reticent about blaming Beijing for cyber attacks in recent years. In addition to this latest series of attacks, Beijing also downloaded terabytes of design data on the Pentagon’s $400 billion F-35 fighter program and other weapons, U.S. officials say. They’re also alleged to have stolen additional billions in intellectual property developed by U.S. companies.

“A great deal of what China, North Korea, Iran, and the vast majority of cyber-criminals and self-proclaimed hacktivists do isn’t very sophisticated,” Stephanie O’Sullivan, the principal deputy to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, told an April cyber-security conference. They tend to exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems for which fixes exist but haven’t been installed. “The Chinese in particular are cleaning us out because we know we’re supposed to do these simple things and yet we don’t do them,” she said. “Most Chinese cyber intrusions are through well-known vulnerabilities that could be fixed with patches already developed.”

It’s not known if the latest attack exploited such a weakness, but one thing is certain: “Good basic security habits,” says Peter W. Singer of the New America Foundation, “would stop over 90% of attacks.”

MONEY

Facebook’s New Tool Will Help Keep Your Account Secure

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traffic_analyzer—Getty Images

Introducing "Security Checkup"

Keeping your Facebook account safe just got a whole lot easier.

Starting today, the social networking giant will start introducing a new feature called Security Checkup. The new tool, which will roll out gradually, will guide users through a number of steps meant to improve account security.

Those steps include upgrading passwords, turning on login alerts, and the ability to log out of any active Facebook session—like one you accidentally left open on a public computer or your friend’s phone.

The entire process closely resembles the company’s current Privacy Checkup, which lumps current Facebook features into an easier-to-use interface. Facebook says the Security Checkup, which is supposed to be an improvement, is still in the testing phase. The company plans to make the feature available to more people based on user feedback.

Facebook

 

 

MONEY online privacy

Never Share These 3 Things on Social Media

couple taking a photo in London
Frank and Helena—Getty Images

Because ID thieves love it when you do.

The digitalization of information and the popularity of social media may put consumer privacy at risk more now than ever. Some social media users, teenagers especially, may be unaware that the information they share — from their location to their paycheck — could be used for identity theft and fraud. About 92% of teenagers post their real name, 82% list their date of birth and 71% show their city or town of residence on their social profiles, according to Pew Research Center. While oversharing has become a problem, consumers could stop it by being careful what they post on social media.

Here are three kinds of information to never share on social media.

1. Driver’s License Details

Some users may be tempted to post their first driver’s license on social media to boast about their accomplishment or laugh at a silly photo. However, a valid ID card, such as a driver’s license, will contain your date of birth, picture and other personal identifiable information that thieves could copy.

Avoid sharing personal information that may lead to identity theft, including your date of birth and Social Security number. Access to this information could allow identity thieves to open new lines of credit, committing fraud and wrecking your credit score in the process. You can monitor your credit for changes that may signal identity theft by checking your free annual credit reports or using a credit monitoring service. You can also check your credit scores for free every month on Credit.com.

2. Vacation Itinerary & Location Data

While you are excited to share pictures about your fun vacation to exotic locations, do not share information about your getaway beforehand on social media, such as how long you will be gone and where you are going.

Not only do potential thieves know that you will be out of your home for that period of time, they could take advantage of your absence and burglarize your property. If you also use geotagging for your posts to show your location or list the city where you live, burglars could use this information to target your home.

3. Bank Account Information

Posting any kind of financial information in a public space could perpetuate fraud. Although some people might use social media to post about their first paycheck from a new job in their excitement, they should not display images of their paycheck because it contains bank account information. In 2014, law enforcement authorities charged a huge identity theft ring that looked for victims’ financial information via Instagram postings of paychecks, CNNMoney reported.

The victims showed images of their paychecks with the hashtag #myfirstpaycheck, which held bank account and routing information. With this information, the thieves were able to make fake checks and steal from businesses.

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