Online Reputation Management Blog

New Spike in Idenity Theft Linked to Social Media Use

According to a study done by a UK-based fraud prevention organization, the number of identity fraud victims has more than doubled in the short span of just one year.

The organization, which is called Cifas, reports that the massive surge can be partially credited to security problems posed by many people’s most used sites — social media platforms.

“The likes of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other online platforms are much more than just social media sites—they are now a hunting ground for identity thieves,” said Cifas’ chief executive, Simon Dukes.

He also noted that the dramatic spike in fraud should encourage social media users to use extreme caution when posting personal information.

According to the study, 85% of the new fraud cases were committed online, as opposed to more traditional methods of identity theft, like over-the-shoulder PIN hackers and wallet snatchers.

In the U.S., identity theft has long posed a huge problem, making it a $50 billion a year industry. And according to this new data, being young doesn’t quite mean being immune from cyber-identity fraud. People between the ages of 31 and 61 experienced the biggest jump in victimization, and it was found in that only 57% of people between the ages of 18 to 24 said that they gave thought to how secure their information was online.

Studies affirming the correlation and causation of social media and identity fraud in the U.S. aren’t available for 2016, but studies conducted by Javelin Strategy & Research affirm it. According to their study, Facebook users with public profiles were victims of identity theft 7.5% of the time — almost twice that of the rest of the population.

Cifas urges users to be very careful when online. never divulge sensitive personal information about yourself online, including phone number, your address, or pictures of your home or workplace. Be wary of fake friend requests and other pages, and make sure to update your computer’s firewall and anti-spyware programs.

The Government Can Now Screen Your Social Media Accounts For Sensitive Information

smartphone with social media bubbles (like, tweet, friend, shareIn our age of technology, social media and blogs are able to reach 80% of Internet users and account for 23% of their time spent online. And now the government can see how Americans spend their time on the internet after a new law has passed that allows private investigators to research social media accounts for security clearances.
In a new policy signed by the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, investigators are able to now collect social media information on public accounts.

Aimed primarily at individuals seeking governmental positions that give them access to privatized information about national security, this law was put into effect because of the sheer size and reach of social media.

Fox News reported that Republican Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz said, “It defied common sense for the government to overlook social media data available to anyone with an Internet connection.”

Chaffetz is also glad to see the National Intelligence Council was working on fixing “such a glaring lapse in our security clearance process.”

As the policy is only aimed towards public information, investigators are banned from requesting passwords or logging into private accounts. Overall, they are not able to obtain any information from a private source.

Additionally, private communications between users, such as through apps like Facebook Messenger, will not be accessed.

This action was met with some conflict. Many members of Congress do not believe the government should use a third party resource to provide information for security clearances.

Using social media as a part of the background check process has been an accepted practice in the private sector. Current research shows that more than 40% of employers report using social media to choose their job applicants.

Additionally, more than four million Americans hold a security clearance that allows access to classified information of national security. This number is expected to grow within the next few years.

Fashion Guru Zoella Upgrades Living Situation, Gives Online World a Lesson on the Influence of Blogging

Social Media with Blogging
Fashion blogging sensation Zoe Sugg — labeled by InStyle as the “undisputed pin-up girl for the digital generation,” has cashed in on her success and bought a stunning new Brighton home in the U.K.

Sugg, better known by her blogging name Zoella, is only 24 years old. She began her online career when she was just a teen, reviewing beauty products from her bedroom in YouTube videos.

Six years later, she now pulls in over $30,000 each month from advertisers who want to place their products alongside her videos. She has seven million subscribers and gets about 12 million hits per month.

Her new home has five bedrooms with ensuite baths, a gourmet kitchen and even an additional log cabin for casual relaxation. She will share the residence with her 21-year-old boyfriend, Alfie Deyes, and has announced on social media that they have dubbed their home the “Zalfie Pad.”

Many other fashion bloggers make a living — though perhaps not as luxurious a living as Sugg’s — by linking to products for which they receive commissions, Yahoo! Finance reported Feb. 19, and fashion bloggers are fast becoming the best avenue for major designers and retailers such as Bloomingdales to reach customers.
Blogging and Branding
Sugg’s success doesn’t just indicate her personal charisma; it’s a perfect example of the rapidly expanding power of blogging, both for individuals and major brands.

“Blogging is an opportunity you do not want to miss out when it comes to publishing for your personal brand,” Susan Gilbert wrote in a Feb. 13 article for the website Business 2 Community, neatly summing up the potential blogging offers businesses of all sizes.

Instead of simply advertising products, blogs rely on a persona with whom customers can identify (even on blogs where that persona is actually constructed by multiple individuals). Blogging, therefore, can help businesses develop a more comprehensive brand identity, create conversations and make customers feel that they’re being included in an inner circle — as opposed to simply being told what to buy.

In this case, as in many others, better branding leads to better sales, as well. Research shows that blogs are actually 63% more likely to impact buying decisions than newspapers are. That’s an important lesson for any online marketing experts debating the nature of online influence.

Google vs. Facebook: Who Will Come Out on Top in the Mobile Ad Market?

smartphone with social media bubbles (like, tweet, friend, share
The mobile advertising market is fiercely competitive, with Google and Facebook both vying for the attention of consumers. While Google is currently winning the mobile advertising battle, it seems that Facebook may be winning the war.

According to a report published at The Information by senior tech Amir Efrati, Google is at risk of losing precious mobile advertising to Facebook.

Google generates more than twice as much revenue as Facebook in regards to mobile advertising — thanks to search — however, in terms of graphical and video ads viewed on mobile devices, Facebook comes out on top, generating three times as much revenue than Google. In fact, Google’s share of these ads is decreasing.

The inability to track the efficacy of ads across various mobile devices seems to be Google’s greatest hurdle, meaning it’s difficult for Google to prove a sale was made due to a user seeing on its mobile advertisements.

On the other hand, Facebook’s mobile advertising platform seems to be more comprehensive, since it is able to determine if a user views an app on Facebook’s mobile ad and purchases that product on their laptop because of it. Facebook uses cookies — indicators that link a user’s web browser to their smartphone — to gather data about its users.

This is unsurprisingly, considering an estimated 50% of mobile phone owners use their smartphone as their primary internet source.

While Google also collects cookies, it fails to distribute them across its ad products. Data from Google’s search engine isn’t combined with data from Google DoubleClick, which is used to track Google’s ads on non-Google sites. On top of that, Google also has no way of determining whether or not a user has purchased the product they’re already seeing an ad for.

Google seems to be leery of getting flack for using the information they collect on users. The company’s own employees have said that limited ad tracking is a direct result of concerns with government regulations. Though the choice to not integrate Google’s ad products may have been made by its executive some time ago, the exact reasons have not been made clear.