When you think of social media, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably something along the lines of 100 supposedly different photos of your friend’s newborn baby (just don’t tell your friend that every photo looks the same), or the daily exercise routine of your health-nut coworker, or maybe a YouTube video of the unlikely friendship between a kitten and a bird – you know the one I’m talking about.
I bet one thing that doesn’t come to your mind when you think of social media (unless you read the title of this article) is identity theft. But if you think about it, based on all of the personal information people share about themselves, social media sites are an identity thief’s delight. As innocent as it may seem, posting a photo and caption of you with your dog Wagner, for example, could reveal the answer to one of your Online Banking security questions.
You should always be monitoring your accounts to ensure all transactions were authorized by you. This includes your checking, savings, credit card and line of credit accounts, etc. and can easily be done through Online and Mobile Banking. But there are measures you can take to mitigate your risk of being a victim of fraudulent activity to begin with.
Here are some best practices that allow you to balance being active on social media and being smart about protecting your identity:
- Use unique user names and passwords for each profile, and change your passwords regularly.
- Utilize privacy settings, and only connect with people that you know – I mean really know, like in real life.
- Minimize the amount of personal information you include in your profiles. When possible, try to avoid including your full name, birthday, address, hometown etc.
- Be smart about what you post. Do not give away personal identifying information that someone could potentially use against you.
- Be cautious of what you download. I know that a link promising a video of a turtle on roller skates seems irresistible (what is it with those animal videos??), but try to muster up some self-control and make sure to verify the source of a link before clicking on it.
- Use common sense. When in doubt, don’t do it.
Have I officially scared you away from ever using social media? I hope not. When used smartly, it’s a great tool that allows you to easily stay connected with your friends and family. You just have to use that noggin of yours and think before you post.
What to do if you are the victim of identity theft
The Federal Trade Commission has recently announced the launch of a new website, IdentityTheft.gov, a resource that makes it easier for victims to report and recover from identity theft. The website includes an interactive checklist that walks you through the recovery process. It also includes sample letters, specialized tips for specific types of identity theft, and advice for people who have been notified that their personal information was exposed in a data breach. See? The internet isn’t all bad.
If you found this article useful, be sure to check out these related articles:
Top ATM Safety Tips
It's Fraud Season: Protect Yourself
How Identity Thieves Steal Your Information
This year marks the 20th that 1st Mariner Bank has been in business as Baltimore's community bank. As our way of saying thank you to the Baltimore community for helping us reach this milestone, we decided to give back. To kick things off, we've teamed up with WBFF-Fox45 to perform Random Acts of Kindness to members of our community. The first random act took place on Monday, June 22nd at the 6340 York Road Giant Food Store. Click on the video below to check it out!
The next random act of kindness will take place on Monday, June 29th at the 1400 Merritt Blvd, Dundalk Giant. We also have a number of other surprises that will take place throughout the rest of the year. Stay tuned for more details!
Don't know what to get mom for Mother’s Day? The most valuable gifts are the ones that are given the most thought and effort. It’s easy to throw some money down and purchase some material goods, but chances are your mother would much rather have something from the heart, and something that won’t break your bank.
Cook for Her
Everyone enjoys going out for a Mother’s Day brunch, at least in theory. In practice, you will likely be crammed in a busy restaurant to eat overpriced eggs. Staying home and cooking your mom food is not only thoughtful, it’s cheaper and more comfortable and relaxed (you won’t be rushed out of your own home for the next reservation). You can even wake up early and bring her breakfast in bed. And everyone knows you can’t beat breakfast in bed.
Make Her Something
Do you like to draw? Paint? Make jewelry? If you have a crafty hobby, make your mom something beautiful. If you don’t feel you are particularly “gifted” when it comes to arts and crafts, that’s when Pinterest becomes your best friend. Check out our Homemade Mother’s Day Gifts board on Pinterest to get you started with some ideas.
Spend the Day with Her
It doesn’t matter what you do, just make the day about her. In fact, the more low-key, the better. Today, your mom should forget about the everyday hustle and bustle of keeping your lives in order. Take a walk in the park, venture over to a part of town you don’t normally go, even take a day trip to the beach. Wherever you go, your mom will just be happy to spend some quality time with you (keep the cell phone at home!).
Do all the things she normally does for you. Clean the house, go grocery shopping, water the plants, etc. Most importantly, at the end of the day don’t forget to tell your mom that you have a new appreciation of how much effort she puts forth to make your life easier!