Online identity theft is something I've wanted to talk about for awhile on this blog as I don't think it is spoke about as much as it should be. When we go shopping and we enter our pin numbers at the card or cash machine, we do almost everything to protect ourselves, but when it comes to our online identities, we seem to be rather negligent. How many of us have entered our details on a website without thinking where they would end up? Even worse, how many of us have sent addresses via emails even though we're always reminded not to? In the blogging world, there's a large proportion of bloggers that don't copyright their images and a lot of us are all too willing to hand over our details to someone claiming to be a PR.
A study into the rise of catfishing, identity theft and fraud conducted by My Voucher Codes discovered that a staggering 23% of social media users have had images used by some else without permission and even more concerning, a growing number of bloggers have reported online identity theft. One of the mentioned bloggers is one of my blogging friends Em from Em Talks and you can find her story here. A young girl used Em's details to obtain samples from PR companies pretending to be Em Talks. When the PR hadn't seen the coverage, they chased Em and discovered the horrifying truth that someone had been using her details. The case was passed over to the police and an official investigation began. Of course Em's situation is rather extreme and cases of online identity theft do happen a lot, but most commonly they are over stolen photographs.
Did you know that you could be fined for taking an image from Google without permission? Even if you state that you have taken the image from a search engine and credit the website, without their written or verbal consent it can be classed as theft.It often surprises how many bloggers are unaware of this and the consequences if they ever got caught.
The main tips I would give to protect yourself from online identity theft is to: Copyright your images or any material that could be copied, be careful who you give your details to and finally do regular searches to make sure your content hasn't been stolen.
Have you been a victim of Online Identity theft?