Archive for “February, 2013”

Identity Theft…The Social Media Element

Wangari Kamande is a Research Analyst at Social Media Group.

I recently watched the movie “Identity Theft” with Jason Bateman and one of my favourite funny ladies Melissa McCarthy. It’s quite humorous and at times you forget the pain that the victim of identity theft is going through; threatened job loss,  financial loss and wasted time just to name a few. As I was watching the movie, I thought to myself, how frequently does this happen? What puts one at risk of identity theft aside from being gullible enough to give all your information to a random caller on the phone as Bateman’s character does?

So I started to look at some statistics surrounding this crime and here is what I found:

  • According to the Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic in 2005 there were approximately 11,000 cases of identity theft in Canada alone leading to $9,000,000 in lost funds, these numbers continues to grow
  • In the US Javelin Strategy & Research found that in 2011, 11.6 million adults became victims of identity fraud
  • found that 65% of users do not set high privacy security settings in their social networking sites and 40% of respondents share their home address on these sites
  • Less than 10% of users review a website’s privacy policy before engaging in use

Source: The Wall Street Journal

Identity theft is growing and social media is said to be powering the rise of this crime. In fact, social networking sites are fertile ground for identity theft as they are built around self- selected networks of friends and colleagues; as such people tend to be more trusting of communication through the sites thereby putting themselves at greater risk of getting scammed. Below are some ways you can protect yourself, while these may not get you covered 100% of the time; they will make you a difficult target.

  1. Ensure your privacy security settings in your social networking sites are set so that you can share information with only people you choose
  2. Choose a password that cannot be easily deciphered, use numbers and a mix of capital and small letters
  3. Avoid sharing a lot of personal information on your social media profiles e.g. complete date of birth, address, phone number etc
  4. Install and update antivirus software to maximize protection against malware that is used for identity theft
  5. Ensure that your wireless  network connection is secure to avoid exposing personal information transmitted on the network
  6. Do not save your passwords on work or public computers. Many social media sites have the “remember my password” section selected by default, un-check that box
  7. Do not click on email links sent to you from your social media provider; instead go directly to the website to verify information. New and successful social media scams create emails that are tailor made to look like they are directly from a social media provider
  8. Unless you are willing to thoroughly review the terms and conditions of online applications and sites, avoid using them if they require access to your personal information

Given that we are in the digital age, how are you guarding yourself from identity theft?


Relevant Resources:

Identity Theft Quizzes

Personal Information Online: How Much is Too Much?

Sunrise: A New Day for your iPhone Calendar

Karly Gaffney is a Manager on the Content and Community team at Social Media Group.

As someone who is an avid planner, with multiple calendars (shared and private) to manage both personal and business schedules, I spend a significant amount of time updating and maintaining dates and events. This is why I’m pretty excited about today’s launch of Sunrise, a beautifully designed social calendar app. Oh, and it’s free.

Former Foursquare UX designers Pierre Valade and Jeremy Le Van first launched Sunrise as a daily email service that detailed your online social life in a daily digest emailed to your inbox each morning. Connecting with Facebook, Google Calendar, Eventbrite and LinkedIn, Sunrise’s daily agenda email, provided everything from upcoming meetings to the current weather.

Fast-forward five months, Sunrise boasts 20,000 email subscribers with a 50% open rate. Pierre and Jeremy have since quit Foursquare to focus on Sunrise full-time resulting in today’s launch of the Sunrise calendar app for iPhone. Leveraging the existing social platform connections, Sunrise was designed to make it easier for users to take action when necessary. Users are able to sync the app with multiple Google Calendar accounts, connect to Facebook to view birthdays and events, even connect to LinkedIn to bring in pictures of the people attending those events. For example, if I see it’s a friend’s birthday on my calendar I could post to their Facebook timeline or send them a text message directly through Sunrise.

I love the simplified thinking behind Sunrise. With a tap or a swipe I can see when and where an event is taking place as well as what the weather forecast is for that day (aka what to wear.) Sunrise will certainly help cut back on the time spent on calendar management considering it pulls many of the important details from your connected social channels, plus you can hide the ones least relevant to your day to make the app more manageable.

For those stragglers who have yet to update to iOS 6 because of the maps debacle, you’re out of luck because the update is required to download Sunrise. However, it should be noted that the Google Places API is used for locations, displayed within the app using Apple Maps, and with a tap from the details screen or a swipe on the agenda display the app switches you over to the Google Maps app (if you have it installed.) If you want to give Sunrise a try, check it out at

What do you think about Sunrise? Is it a contender for Fantastical and Tempo? Would you be more willing to try it out because it’s free?

Joining the Board of the Heart and Stroke Foundation

It’s my great pleasure to announce that I have been asked to join the Advisory Board for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, a national volunteer-based health charity whose mission is to eliminate heart disease and stroke, and to reduce their impact by advancing research and promoting healthy living and advocacy.

As someone who has a tremendous interest in “making health last”, I’m extremely eager to advise on HSF‘s digital and social efforts and help to increase internal capabilities, as well as support on issues that matter to me personally – specifically childhood obesity and healthy eating.

I’ll be sharing information about the Heart and Stroke Foundation as I get more involved, and I’ll also leave you with some information about their brilliant new campaign, “Make Health Last” (including a health assessment – you should take it!)