I Shouldn’t Have to Say This, but DO NOT POST PICS OF YOUR CREDIT CARDS

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Strangely enough, it would appear that a large number of people have – for reasons that defy logic and sanity – been posting pictures of credit and debit cards via Social Media. Don’t believe me? Check out the Twitter account of NeedADebitCard and see for yourself.

So, since it apparently *does* need to be said, I’ll say it: “Do not, under any circumstances at all, post a picture of your credit/debit cards, work ID’s, personal ID’s (like your driver’s license) or any other personally identifiable documents. Ever. For any reason. Seriously.

Now, here’s why:

We are not alone

Along with all the great folks, customers and colleagues you can meet on social networks, there are a large number of people who live in the dark alleys of the Internet.

As you can see from that Twitter account, anyone can see the pictures you post – sometimes even if your account is marked as “private.” That means an ID thief, using the same exact (legal) tools that the Twitter account creator used, can harvest tons of credit/debit card numbers, expiration dates, and account names. They can then use that information to purchase easily re-sellable objects and turn your card into quick cash.

It’s bad enough that folks are getting tricked into giving up their information by people who have tampered with ATMs and card scanners, we don’t need to make it any easier by purposely sharing information with these crooks.

Security isn’t always that secure

I’ve personally been to several websites that do not require the 3-4 digit security code from the back of the credit/debit card to make a purchase. Even very legitimate websites don’t always ask for the security codes, and that means when a thief has the number, your name, and expiration date; he or she can rob you blind without ever seeing the back of your card.

Let’s all use a little common sense here

I have a rule for what you should and should not post online. It’s very simple:

If you wouldn’t say it out loud in the middle of Times Square in NYC, or wouldn’t want the photo to be posted to a billboard in that same location, don’t put it on any social network, sharing site, or comment page.

Think about that for a second. “My client is squeezing me out of every penny” – probably wouldn’t mind saying it out loud if it was true, and no client was identified.

“My client BigCompany is a bunch of assbags.” – I would definitely hesitate to say that in front of a ton of strangers. After all, the CEO of BigCompany might be standing behind me.

“My client is sleeping with my boss.” – that’s not coming out of my mouth unless the only person I want to hear it is the ONLY person in the room. I might say it on a phone call, may say it personally to someone, but would never say that surrounded by a large group of people I don’t know.

Same goes for pictures. I wouldn’t mind a picture of me at a trade show or professional event up on a billboard. Mildly embarrassing, but that’s about it. However, a picture of my birth certificate is something I definitely would *not* put on a billboard anywhere, but especially not on one seen by millions of people a month.

Social Media is like Times Square. You cannot control who hears or sees what you post. Even direct messages will be broadcast to the world if you make one mistake while posting or attach a picture to the DM. Never say or show anything on any sharing site that you don’t want your neighbors, your boss, your family, and/or the local criminal element to see or hear. Not even in a DM or private message, not ever.

Stay safe, and think before you post. Your credit score, employment and mental stability could very well be on the line.

Editor’s Note: The card shown at the top of this page is a “dummy card” that doesn’t belong to anyone and has invalid numbers, insignia and dates. This means that you can try to use it all you want, it won’t work, and it doesn’t belong to the author.

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