SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – If you use Facebook like millions of others, you may have heard recently that information of over 500 million users was found on a hacker website.
Tom Stephens with the Better Business Bureau says this actually happened several years ago but is being publicized now. He says it can serve as a way for users to be more aware of what information they may be sharing on all social media platforms.
Stephens says the Facebook issue reportedly showed that email addresses, birth dates, names and other information were shared.
He says that could be a big problem for some users.
“But if you’ve got an email address and a name, you can do a lot of damage you can create a fake ID,” said Stephens. “And a full birth date (with the year) gives a hacker everything they need to create that identity that says it’s you.”
He suggest checking privacy settings, which he says users should have been doing all along.
“Limit your information (and postings) to a very close group of friends,” he said.
He also suggests changing your password at least twice a year.
Finally, he says be proactive and check your credit report at least once a year.
“The most important thing you can do is keep an eye on that credit report, and then you’ll know if that hack has turned into any real damage,” said Stephens.
“There’s a trust level in (all social media) that shouldn’t exist,” he added. “And I would be very careful about what I put on there.”
A third-party website called haveibeenpwned.com can let you check if you were one of the hacked accounts. All you have to do is input your email address, and the website will inform you whether you’ve been subject to a security breach.
There is a catch to all this. According to CNN, only 2.5 million of the 533 million Facebook accounts included emails in the stolen data, meaning you have less than half a percent chance of appearing on the website.
Haveibeenpwned.com creator Troy Hunt said on Twitter he’s thinking of adding phone numbers to the site’s search capabilities, which would notify a much larger swath of Facebook users if their data has been stolen.