Facebook – Risk and Reward

I don’t use Facebook. (I hear a gasp of disbelief!) Why not? I can’t think of a good reason to. I prefer to do my “social networking” face-to-face. The problem with Facebook and other such sites is that whatever you put on the internet is there forever, for anybody who wants to look – not just your “friends.” This is why criminals have been caught when they gloated on Facebook, homeowners have been burglarized when they posted their vacation plans, wives have discovered their husband’s affairs, and employees have been fired over that “whimsical” photo of them smoking dope that they forgot about. Can you say “Oversharing?”

And, just in case you’ve run out of things to worry about, a new study finds that people who use social networks are four times as likely to have their identity stolen! Now, as the statisticians are fond of saying, “Correlation does not equal causation.” What that means in English is we don’t know if these people had their identity stolen because they use social networks, or if their social network use is a symptom of something else they do that puts them at risk.

do know that the internet has a tendency to encourage people to share the most intimate details of their lives online, apparently never realizing the dangers when their dates of birth, addresses, mother’s maiden name, schools, previous addresses, sometimes even their social security numbers, are out there for anybody to find. And that’s even without the possibility – make that probability – of a data breach. You might also consider who you keep as a “friend.” Treating Facebook as a popularity contest is only going to make you more vulnerable.

Nobody but your closest family needs to know such things as your favorite color or your first pet’s name. The only way to mitigate the risk is think twice anytime you’re asked for personal identity information – even if a police officer asks you for your social security number, you can politely decline. Especially if a police officer asks you for a DNA sample! Yes, it’s been happening, to people not charged with any crime, because certain government agencies just can’t seem to collect enough data to satisfy them, Constitution be damned!

By the way, don’t forget to vote on November 8th. Your question should be, “Do I want more of the same, or am I willing to chance something different?” Personally, I think “More of the same” will destroy this country.

Yes, using more social networks raises your risk of ID theft — a lot, says ID Analytics.

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