Social media allows you to be connected to the world at all times. This comes with the benefit of being able to keep in touch with close friends, family, and acquaintances very easily, but it can also leave you vulnerable. If someone were to hack your social media account, it could lead you to a financial dilemma.
The recent data breaches at Target, Neiman Marcus, and hotel chains alerted consumers to the fact that there are always thieves ready to steal their credit card and banking information for malicious intent. Hackers do not stop with major companies, they target people directly, and the easiest way for them to target you is through social media.
At the end of last year nearly two million people had their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts compromised. While companies like Facebook acted quickly to help those that were affected by hackers, there are still many people unaware of their accounts being compromised from other social media networks.
How can you take precaution while using social media? Especially when hackers are getting smarter every day? We have gathered information that you should know about when you decide to use any form of social media. Follow our tips to avoid your information from falling into the hands of hackers.
Be careful what you click on when using Facebook or Twitter
One of the most common hacks through social media is found on Facebook. Someone from your network will post a status update or send you a direct message about how they learned how to quit their day job they and make money from home, or something similar. In that message or post they will have included a link for you to click on to get more information. When this happens, that means the person’s account could become hacked. By clicking on the link you will be redirected out of Facebook, and from there, the hacking begins.
After you click the link is it will appear you have logged out of Facebook. You will then be prompted to sign back in, which is actually the link redirecting you to a fake website where you will be prompted to sign back in. By signing back in you will have given the hackers the password you use to access your account, and from there they will use it to go onto your account. If you have credit card information stored on your Facebook account that could also put your money at risk.
The same process applies to Twitter. Avoid clicking on links that do not appear genuine, and if you’re randomly logged out of your Twitter account do not log back in until you feel it is secure.
Also, be weary of apps that you install on your mobile device. There are apps that you can install on your smartphone to share links to Twitter and/or Facebook. Some of these apps steal your information and use it to log into your account. Never install a new app without looking up whether it is secure or not.
Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media hacks
This may sound like an obvious rule, but avoid taking pictures of anything that could give away sensitive information such as your full name, address, Social Security number, or credit card number on Instagram, LinkedIn, and other social media networks.
Never take a picture of your credit card, or of any documents with personal information (such as your taxes) to share on social media. There are people that have done this in the past, and who have paid dearly for it.
People that use any type of social media account are advised to create new and unique passwords for each one. Another suggestion would be to never use the same password for your primary email address or your bank login. In the event that you are hacked, the thief may try and use the password elsewhere. Depending on how much of your information that was stolen, they may be able to access your personal accounts elsewhere.
How can a hacked social media account impact your finances?
Someone with your social media account information can quickly spam everyone in your network. This can put your friends, family, spouse, and everyone else in your network at risk for being hacked as well.
All it takes is one hack and someone can make a major impact on your finances. The problem is that if a hacker does gain access to your bank account information, it may become hard to dispute any charges that were applied. Your bank may initially see the charges as coming from your account directly, and will need to investigate into the matter further to verify your claim.
As always, make sure that you check your bank account regularly. Read the news to learn about the latest hacks or gimmicks out there, that way you know how to prevent someone from stealing your information. Also, consider changing the passwords you use for all of your social media accounts every now and then. Some hackers wait awhile before they decide to act on using your stolen information, and so they can target you when you least suspect it.