Social Media and Identity Theft Implications on Nigerian Victims and International Economy

Social Media and Identity Theft Implications on Nigerian Victims and International Economy

Tolulope Kayode-Adedeji (Covenant University, Nigeria), Obianuju Victoria Okeke (Covenant University, Nigeria), Lanre Amodu (Covenant University, Nigeria), Opeyemi Fasanya (Covenant University, Nigeria) and Nelson Okorie (Covenant University, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9715-5.ch055
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This research was conducted with the sole aim of examining the implications of social media identity theft and level of awareness of security measures on social networking platforms. The survey and interview method of data gathering was employed and result revealed that the implication of social media identity theft on victims are rather negative than positive especially as a result of their lack of knowledge on the security measures necessary to employ in avoiding the implications that comes with the use of social media networking sites. The research recommend that the government make policies that will punish perpetrators and social media networking site owners begin to seek our ways to protect their users on those platforms and provide avenues to educate people to stay safe online for the future generation of online social media users.
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In this 21st century and beyond, many can attest to the role of ICT in the development of communication in the world. According to Adaja and Ayodele (2013 p. 65), ‘one of the developments in Information and Communication Technology in the 21st century was the finding and advent of the new media which have enabled the formation of several channels of social communication.’

As a result of the fast-growing technology, in social communication, there has been dependence on the internet by a large percentage of individuals around the world.

Consequently, personal information is shared when creating profiles on social media platforms thereby making it easy for online crimes to take place. Security attacks such as hacking, identity theft, phishing scams, viruses are now common online as users share their names, date of birth, the name of schools, family information, and others on social media sites.

While activities online increase, there are concerns about the ways personal information shared by social media users may be collected and analysed (Hinduja and Patchin, 2009). According to Walker (2016) the state of the net poses, that more than half of the people using social media applications share private information about themselves online, exposing themselves to online dangers. The findings reveal that: 25% of persons with a Facebook account do not use the site’s privacy control or are not aware of them, 40% of social media users post their personal identity information online, exposing them to identity theft and 9% of social media users dealt with a form of abuse within the past year (e.g., malware, online scams, identity theft or harassment) (Finch, 2003).

Due to this increase, there seems to be a connection between the usages of such media with identity theft, cyberbullying, online sexual predators mainly affected youths because of lack of security consciousness and privacy about personal information (Jegede, et, al; (2016) McGillivray, 2015). Also, committing identity fraud with the help of the Internet may be more accessible and more efficient for criminals than ever before (Milne et al, 2004).

Emily Finch, the author of “What a Tangled Web We Weave: Identity Theft and the Internet,” believes that social media users are “less security-minded about their personal information when they are online than they are in ‘real life’ situations.” This is true because when people are on social media sites, they reveal information online that they would not show to someone in real life situation. It is therefore easy to understand how this information is wrongly used and leads to identity theft (Finch, 2003).

Identity theft did not begin over the Internet. Before the use of internet became popular, fraudsters stole people’s identities by going through their documents. They also used their mobile devices to commit such fraud. In Nigeria, before the prominence of the internet, there were fraudsters commonly called 419’ers, and these fraudsters duped mostly big men and women who lived in Lagos (Ezea, 2017).

With the acceptance of internet, identity theft is becoming more popular around the world. According to Federal Trade Commission, identity theft was the number one fraud in 2008. Now with its popularity, different online fraudulent activities have become the norm over the years.

However, Nigeria social media users continue to fall, a victim of this fraudulent activities, as they continue to imbibe the culture of registration and to use newly established social media network with more existing features (Omodunbi et al., 2016)

Therefore, diverse investigation abounds on the issue of social media identity theft. Selwyn (2004) examined how older adult employed the uses of social media to lower perceived life stress thereby making them victims of social media identity theft. On the other hand, Rezmik (2013) investigates the dominant methods used in carrying out social media identity theft on social media networking site. They further stress the need for the Federal Governments to be solely responsible for the protection of social media users by ensuring the perpetrators are punished (Al-Daraish et al., 2014). Most importantly, Milne et al., (2004) discussed online behaviours that lead to identity theft to create awareness for online security for social media users.

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