Tipsheet: Risky Business: Identity Theft

Risky Business: Identity Theft

We’ve all heard the horror stories of people whose identities
have been stolen. Their bank accounts are wiped out, credit cards maxed out, and
they feel terribly violated. Then after the "theft" has been
discovered, they are faced with the hassle of rebuilding their financial
reputation, one step at a time.

Too often, these people are partly to blame: in today’s age of
social media transparency and slick Google searches, their information is laid
open and bare… by them, usually unwittingly.

While there are no guarantees, here are some simple steps you
can take to protect your name, and avoid the bad guys:

1) Don’t "Tweet" or post a status message that you
will be out of town: it’s too easy for someone to electronically ‘case’ your
profile, and then break into your real-world home and steal you blind.

2) Be careful how many personal details you post. Don’t post
your birthday, Social Security Number, mother’s maiden name, etc. These can be
used by others to impersonate you over the phone, get newly issued copies of
REAL identification sent out, and apply for new credit cards.

3) Don’t have easily guessable passwords. Use at least six
digits, and always include numbers and punctuation.

4) Register on as many social media sites as you can with your
name, before others who have your name do so. That way, if someone searches for
your name within a particular site, they’re more likely to find you. Check out – this site makes it very easy.

5) Only accept connections, friends, etc from people who you
know in the real world. If you want to accept everyone, only let them see
limited information.

6) Don’t respond to email requests that let you know that you’ve
won millions of dollars. This is just a come-on to get you to reveal your
banking information for them to "deposit" your winnings. (Instead,
they syphon your account dry.)

This week’s action item: There is always a
balance between sharing important information with your connections, and
clamming up tight because of security concerns. This week, review your profiles
for anything that could be used by a scam artist – and delete it.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to
to register.

Randall Craig

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Randall Craig has founded several successful start-ups, held a long-time position at a “big-four” consulting firm, and was an executive at an American public company. He currently serves as the 108 ideaspace CEO and chief strategist. Randall has been advising on digital strategy since 1994: he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail’s GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations.

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