A recent Consumer Reports survey concludes that certain info we post on social network sites and how we use those sites may be putting us at risk for identity theft and cyber crimes. So how does one stay safe in the digital world? As reported by the Los Angeles Times, Consumer Reports offers this helpful list of seven things users should “stop doing now” on Facebook, MySpace and other social network sites.
- Using a weak password Stay away from simple names and obvious choices with a number tacked onto the end. Instead, mix upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. Better still, add a number or symbol the middle of your password.
- Providing your full birth date Avoid showing your full birth date in your profile (day, month, year). This info can be used to obtain additional personal info, or access to your bank and credit accounts. Just show only your birth month and day, or nothing at all.
- Ignoring useful privacy controls Take advantage of Facebooks many options for limiting what private information is seen by who-knows-who.
- Posting a child’s name in a photo caption Just don’t do it. And, if someone else adds a tag to one of your photos with your child’s name, just delete it by clicking “remove tag”.
- Mentioning being away from home When you do this, you’re letting everyone know that the house is empty.
- Being found by a search engine You can stop strangers from accessing a profile by going to the Search section of Facebook’s privacy controls and select “Only Friends for Facebook” search results. Be sure the box for Public Search isn’t checked.
- Permitting youngsters to use Facebook unsupervised. If there’s a young child or teenager in the household who uses Facebook, have an adult in the same household become one of their online friends and use their e-mail as the contact for the account in order to receive notification and monitor activity.