Social Networking Safety Tips

Facebook can be a great way to connect with friends, family, and colleagues, and is quickly becoming a common way to foster relationships and maintain contact with other people. The popular social networking site has also received bad press for privacy issues and making information available that shouldn’t be. Sharing certain information can put you at risk for identity theft, loss of insurance, or even loss of your job. (These suggestions can equally apply to myspace, twitter, etc. and can be found in their original form at www.finance.yahoo.com)

1. Risky Behaviors: Insurance companies are developing ways to monitor social networking sites to find out information about their clients. As this becomes common practice, if you are putting yourself or your property in danger, you may see a hike in your insurance rates. It is also generally a good rule of thumb to avoid posting photos of you participating in any activity that you would not want your employer (or future employer) to know about.

2. Your personal address: This seems obvious, but it is surprising how many people make this available, and are unaware of the type of privacy setting they have in place. This can put you at risk for theft, among other things.

3. Your birthdate and place: This information can be used in identity theft in a number of ways. It can assist in predicting your social security number if you provide the year you were born.

4. Vacation plans: Criminals have been known to use information posted on twitter, facebook, etc. to know which homes to rob based on vacation plans. And why not, if you are giving the exact dates that you will not be home?

5. Confessionals: Again, if you don’t want your employer to see it, don’t post it. Many people have been fired for complaining about clients online, revealing information deemed private by their company, or discussing something they may or may not have done at work.

6. Password clues: When establishing a password online, you often are asked to provide a clue in case your forget it, such as your mother’s maiden name, phone number, or name of a pet–often facts that are posted on your social networking profile. Be sure that the answers to your password hints are not available for others to find easily.

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