Articles > All A Thief Needs Is Right On Your Facebook Profile!

25 May 2010


  "All A Thief Needs Is Right On Your Facebook Profile!"
Written by: Tackett Internet Marketing, LLC

15 Obvious (And Not So Obvious) Steps You Can Take To Help Protect Yourself  While Using Social Media 

Consider  the information companies use to verify your identity, or the security questions you answer to access an account or retrieve a password – this is the information you should not post on social media.  Social media is great for staying connected with friends and family, networking, and marketing your business, but use it wisely because your general everyday posts and profile information can be more revealing than you think. 

Use the tips below to help protect yourself and your family:  

1.  Protect Your Full Name:  Don't post your full birth name.  Choose a nickname, screen name identity or abbreviated version of your name.  Never give out your middle name or initial, and do not give out your maiden name if it is the same as your mother's maiden name. 

2.  Do Not List Names Of: Roommates, Significant Other, or Spouse:    One of the ways companies will verify your identity is to ask you the other name on your account.  If a thief knows you’re in a relationship, or live with someone then it's easy for them to guess the other name on your accounts. 

3.  Protect Your Birth Date:  Never give them any part of your real birth date.  Tip: If a site requires one then use a generic date you will always remember because sometimes you have to give them this date again if you need to retrieve your password.  A good one is 1/1/year.  

Note: It's not enough just to leave out the year - you don't want to list your month or day on your profile either.  With other information you provide around the web it's only too easy for a thief to guess your year.  

4.  Protect Names Of Schools And Pets:  Do not post your school graduation dates or join reunion or school groups especially with the year listed.  Once a thief knows this it is not difficult for them to guess your birth date especially if you've listed other parts of your birth date.  Also, the name of your elementary or high school and the name of your pets is often used as security questions by online accounts to verify your identity. 

5.  Protect Your Location:  Avoid using your real city or zip code and never give out your street or mailing address.  If it is mandatory then give them the name of a large city near you or just give them your state.  Sites may say this is mandatory but until these sites start protecting our information better they don't deserve to be trusted with our personal information.

6.  Be Careful With Photos:   Upload profile photos that do not reflect a straight-on head shot. Do not make it easy for a thief to make a fake I.D. with your profile photo.  Never "tag" or describe in captions the full names of yourself or other people without first obtaining their permission.  And, be sure to ask others not to do it to you as well.  This is becoming more and more important and considered good social media etiquette!  Thieves can gain a lot of information from photos.  Be careful about posting personal photos as well - they can end up being used for advertisements in Timbuktu! 

7.  Use Smart Passwords:  Do not use the same password that you use on other accounts.  Do use several different passwords around the web and change them every couple of months at least.  Also, do not use the names of your pets, children, spouse or your birthday as your password either in part or whole.  

Pick passwords that are difficult to guess even by someone close to you as they could inadvertently reveal that information.  Ie...  People often use nicknames or favorites of things as passwords.  If your friend or spouse posts something about your nickname in high school or your favorite song, color, place to travel etc... a thief can guess very quickly what your passwords might be. 

8.  Protect Your Children!  Never post any personally identifiable information about your children.  Do not list the name of their school, nickname, the summer camp they're attending, or their pet's name. Those wanting to harm children will go to great lengths to gather information about a child and sadly use it to gain a child's trust.  Make sure your "security password" with your child is one that's never mentioned on social media even casually.  

Also, identity thieves will steal a child's identity just as an adult's. 

9.  Keep Your Kids Off Social Media!   For the obvious reasons, but for all the non-obvious reasons as well.   Inadvertently, kids will post/display information that can jeopardize the identity or safety of themselves, and their family and friends.  

10.  Protect Your Contact Information:  Never list your email address, mailing or physical address, or personal or cell phone numbers on profiles or in postings.  It's too easy to discover the names behind this information and it's too easy for thieves to use phishing or spyware programs to obtain data from your computer or cell phone by emailing or phoning/texting you.

11.  Clear Your Browser Cache And Cookies:   Clear out this information daily, particularly if you have used a public or shared computer, or your laptop.  Don't let web sites track your moves and habits.  It's your information – take steps that will help you keep it to yourself.  It may seem cumbersome to re-enter login information at different sites every day, but it is a lot more hassle to spend years and countless hours and dollars recovering from I.D. theft!

12.  Protect Your Credit Card Information:  Do not purchase anything on social media sites. And, don't become a Fan of your bank's group or page.  No one needs to know where you bank.

13.  Avoid Apps:  Do not use apps on these sites or at least be very particular about which ones you use and be sure to strictly limit the access they have to your information as much as possible.  

14.  Safeguard Yourself & Your Property:  Do not announce that you are:  going travelling, jogging thru the park, home alone or any other information that could jeopardize the safety of yourself, your family and  friends, your company, or your property.  Post wisely. 

15.  Check Your Account or Privacy Settings:  Set your account settings on as private as possible and stay current on the changes your social media sites are making in regards to sharing your information.  Remember... it's still YOUR information and you have the right to protect it.  This means you may have to check the box that gives permission for the site to send you emails to keep you updated on changes. 

Social media can be great fun and help you grow your business as well.  Just be sure and use it wisely to help minimize the negatives while enjoying the benefits! 

Disclaimer NOTICE: The information in this article is not intended to be legal advice nor a complete or thorough list of ways to protect personal information and/or privacy and/or safety, and offers no guarantees that it will do so.   

Copyright 2010 All Rights Reserved. Tackett Internet Marketing, LLC


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