Nick Iannelli, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - As we are hearing more and more about Chinese cyberspies and hacked Twitter accounts, it's clear that online criminals are hard at work, evolving along with cutting-edge technology and putting everyday Internet users at risk.
Credit.com founder and chairman Adam Levin says everyone is sharing too much of their personal information via social networking websites.
"It makes it easier over time for identity thieves to cobble together what they need in order to recreate you," he says.
Recently, Facebook announced it was victim to hackers, who luckily were not able to steal any sensitive information from Facebook's 1 billion users.
Levin tells the Wall Street Journal users are generating so much information online. He likened it to chum for sharks.
The website and others like it can leave users vulnerable to hackers but there are a handful of easy steps users can take to protect themselves.
Levin cautions against listing your exact birthdate and full legal name.
"You could change the name a little. You could put a nickname in," Levin says.
"If you have a desperate need to get birthday wishes every year, then give the month and the day. You don't have to give the year," he adds.
Leave any credit card details off social networking sites and be careful when posting photos from your personal environment.
Some pictures can give away exact locations of valuable items in your home and work environment.
Although not the most entertaining option, Levin adds the best and most effective way to ward off new-age identity thieves is to stay off sites like Facebook altogether.
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