ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10)
As part of Identity Theft Protection Week, Attorney General Chris Carr is warning Georgians who have received their COVID vaccine not to share the news by posting their COVID vaccine card to their social media apps as doing so could lead to identity theft.
“I strongly encourage all Georgians to get vaccinated for COVID at the appropriate time, but cannot discourage them enough against the posting of their vaccination cards on social media,” warns Attorney General Carr. “This new trend of doing so, however well-intentioned, could lead to their full names and birthdates falling into the wrong hands.”
COVID vaccine cards contain the recipient’s full name and birth date. This information might help someone to apply for a loan or credit card in your name or hack into your accounts if you have used your birthdate as a password or PIN. A safer way to share about your vaccine on social media would be to update your status or to post a picture of your vaccination sticker.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division offers the following tips about staying safe online and reducing your risk of identity theft:
- Avoid listing the following information publicly: date of birth, hometown, home address, year of your high school or college graduation, primary e-mail address.
- Only invite people to your social network that you know or have met, as opposed to friends or friends and strangers.
- Never, ever give out your Social Security number or driver’s license number.
- Consider unique user names and passwords for each profile and don’t share them with anyone.
- The longer the password is, the stronger it is. Using a mix of letters, numbers and special characters also makes a password harder to crack.
- Check your credit card and bank accounts regularly for any charges you do not recognize. Notify your financial institution immediately if you see an unauthorized transaction.
- Monitor your credit reports regularly to look for any accounts you don’t recognize. To access your free credit report, go to annualcreditreport.com. To prevent someone from opening a new account in your name, consider placing a credit freeze with each of the three credit reporting agencies (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).
- Look out for phishing emails, texts or links that ask you to provide your Social Security number, birth date, financial account information, user name or password. Scammers may be posing as legitimate businesses or acquaintances of yours to try to steal your money.
- If you think you have been the victim of identity theft, visit identitytheft.gov to report it and get a recovery plan.
- For additional tips and resources on identity theft, visit consumer.ga.gov.