By the AllClear ID Team
Jackie here with AllClear ID.Â Have you ever used your phone or mobile device to â€œcheck-inâ€ somewhere on Facebook? Does your mobile device automatically post your location when you use it to update your status on a social network, or send an email? These simple acts might seem harmless, but this information in the wrong hands could lead to potential problems.
Many cell phones and mobile devices utilize GPS technologies to pinpoint your exact location. This is known as geolocation tracking. There are many variations to this technology. Some devices track automatically, others allow you to â€œcheck-inâ€ at a location, and some people simply share the information on their own through various social media channels using status updates, tweets, etc. But however location sharing may happen, the risk is still the same.
One of the obvious risks of location sharing is that thieves will know when you arenâ€™t home, and can break in and steal from you. Location sharing also opens the door to stalking problems, and can make it difficult for abuse victims to escape their attackers. This isnâ€™t all. Location tracking and sharing can also provide identity thieves with a treasure trove of information that could potentially be used to steal your identity. For example, an identity thief could contact your gym (where you regularly check-in), and use commonly known information to access account numbers or credit cards. The location information you share could become a puzzle piece that thieves can use to leverage other information until they have enough to steal your identity.
Here are some tips for protecting yourself and your location:
- Turn Off Location Tracking on Mobile Devices- Most cell phones and mobile devices come with location tracking automatically turned on. Turn it off. This is quite simple to do, and usually requires nothing more than finding the right place on your device and changing the setting.
- Think Before You Share- Think about the personal information that you share on social networks before you share. You can wait to post pictures of your latest vacation until you get home, and you donâ€™t have to update the world every time you go out to eat. Ask yourself if the location information you are sharing could potentially cause problems.
- Understand Your Privacy Settings- Many social networking platforms allow users to filter the information that they share or share with select individuals or groups. Understand your privacy settings, and know who can see what information as you post.
Understanding geolocation tracking and knowing what information you are sharing is critical to protecting your identity online. For more information on how to control your identity online, check out this post from the AllClear ID blog.
Views expressed are the personal views of the author, and do not represent the views of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling, its employees, its members, or its clients.