Smartphones & Social Media Blamed For Rise in Identity Theft

By Stephanie Parkinson

February 29, 2012 Updated Feb 29, 2012 at 7:16 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Smartphones and social media are being blamed for a rise in identity theft. A recent study by Javelin Strategy & Research shows a 13% increase in identity fraud in 2011. That study also says smartphones and social media sites are giving hackers easier access.

"I think we're a little less vigilant with mobile devices than we need to be," said John Kaufeld, online marketing specialist, IPFW.

Kaufeld says you could be giving away vital information to hackers on your social media sites without even knowing it.

"When you're putting basic information out there, you're putting things like your dogs name, your hometown, your favorite color, those are the classic, most basic passwords. You're literally giving away the keys to the kingdom if that's what you've also used for your passwords.

Kaufeld suggests using words that aren't common for people to identify you with. For example, if you are an avid skate boarder don't use words associated with that hobby. But it doesn't stop there.

"You want to make sure if that phone loses your possession that if somebody picks it up they can't access the information inside of it," said Jason Wagner, manager, Verizon Wireless.

"Don't get freaked out, don't get frightened, think about the real world, think about, well you go home, and lock your door, simple step, we take it for granted, same thing applies to the online media world, we're just changing how the locks work," said Kaufeld.

Javelin has been conducting annual studies on identity theft for the past 9 years.




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