People Are Posting Their 'First 7 Jobs' On Social Media; Here's Why That's A Security Risk

Over the weekend, the hashtag #FirstSevenJobs started trending with some of the biggest names throwing their hats into the ring:

For example, the "Governator:"

Ice cream salesman (age 10, at the lake)
Glass factory custodian
Hardware sales
Tank driver
Personal trainer

— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) August 10, 2016

Stephen Colbert

#firstsevenjobs construction, bus boy, cafeteria server, library data entry, futon frame maker, futon salesman, waiter

— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) August 7, 2016

and of course Mira Sorvino from the classic "Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion"

ESL teacher in Beijing
Copy editor
Script reader
Chinese tutor

— Mira Sorvino (@MiraSorvino) August 7, 2016

Which got me to thinking - where do you see this information asked for on a regular basis? Oh right - when you're applying for a credit card; opening a bank account or signing up for a new service that requires you to pay for it.

What does that mean?

Simply, you're sharing information on yourself with the WORLD that makes it easier for hackers and social engineers to pry into your life. It puts you at risk and it's something you should be careful doing publicly.

I caught up with Howard Greenstein, COO of DomainSkate, a Brand Identity Protection Company in NYC, to get some pointers on what you, your family and friends should keep in mind.

What should you consider?

Many companies like banks or credit card issuers use is to have security questions, as well as the "last 4 of your social security number." Howard notes that "the SSN is a terrible protection mechanism since it is commonly used at the doctor's, the insurance agent's, when you buy a car, get a driver's license, buy a cell plan and more."

Next - consider your security questions.

Security questions are often things like "What Was Your First Job" or "What's the Name of your High School Mascot?" or "What's Your Favorite Movie." People have much of this information already out in public.

Looking at a Facebook or LinkedIn profile, you can often find the person's employment history, their favorite movies and music and even where they attended High School. A quick Google search tells someone the answer to the mascot question, and a profile can reveal the rest. Adding data like your first job - say it was in High School and is not on LinkedIn - can make the hacker's job even easier.

But, what can really happen?

Identity theft can be a serious issue. Howard noted that "one of his colleagues literally spent 5 months fighting off creditors after US Mail theft led to his identity theft." The thieves made new credit cards, ran up bills and left him holding the bag.

Creditors would call his house, call his parents in the middle of the night (he had moved out and lived across the country) and it ruined his credit for a while.

While most card companies won't charge you if your personal card is stolen, when someone makes a fake account you have to prove it wasn't you going on a shopping spree. The poor guy Howard knew faced $10,000 in fradulent credit card charges that took ages to clear up.

So what should you do?

Don't click on random attachments or on random email links like "Hey, I sent you this file" from people who don't normally send you emails, like that "Nigerian Prince" who emails you periodically.

Don't re-enter your information for Google, AOL, Yahoo, Outlook or others on 3rd party sites.

That "hot" guy or girl on the dating app that needs money to see you? They're probably a scammer in Siberia. Don't fall for it.

When Twitter or Facebook posts come around asking for way too much personal information and for you to repost it or forward it - don't do it or just write down something random. Do people really care about this information? Is it really making you more popular or just putting you at risk?

Don't give out information when asked for it by phone. Howard mentioned that he "gets constant calls from 'Microsoft Tech Support' or 'The IRS' These organizations don't call you. Don't answer, or just hang up.

Lastly, that Facebook Quiz? Just don't. I know, everyone wants to know your "porn star name." But if your name is "the street you grew up on + your mother's maiden name," think: "Am I giving away security question information right now?"

Social Networks like Twitter and Facebook and even places like Instagram are a lot of fun - just think before you post. That thinking can keep you safer in the long run.


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