Is Your Safety and Security at Risk as You Use Facebook and Forums? Without a doubt the biggest social network is Facebook. Considering the fact that it's the largest and most well known, that's the one I'll point out today, but please understand that all of the guidelines that I'm getting ready to share also apply to other social sites or forums that you participate in. It's important to understand that these social sites are frequented by both solid citizens as well as the bad guys. All individuals have free access to join, so you must be aware and smart about the way you impart information about yourself in these sites. Many people are not aware the consequences of submitting details of their life for the entire world to see. They may not realize that... • Identity theft is a very real and devastating predicament. The net is a great deal of fun these days for getting in touch with childhood buddies, sharing pictures with your friends and family near and not so near, playing games, dealing with people 'poking' you, virtual zombies, birthday announcements and friend requests. Things like this keep people returning back to the social networks but they're often targeted for criminal activity. The information they present online is permanent and searchable for a long period of time by criminals. So What Can You Do to Safeguard Yourself? Here Are Some Ideas: The very first thing you have to do is fully understand the security and privacy found at the sites you might be using. GROAN, right? Yes I understand it can be a nuisance to try to figure out the policies and check through the security on a whole lot of websites but it's vital that you take the protection of your data serious by doing so. The website owner does not have your best interest in mind; they're out to make a buck and you better be certain that they aren't using your confidential data to do so. Facebook is famous for modifying its security settings. New posts will float around on a fairly regular basis about any new change to the security settings that lets others see information you don't want them to see. It is important for you to look at this and find out if any new changes affect you. Don't Give Out Too Much Information One way to get into trouble with social media is to give out a lot info. Be cautious about what you share in your profile, your posts, your private messages and also in your pictures. For instance, if you post a picture of your car - that can spell danger. If the wrong person obtains your license plate number, your name and your address they can go a long way with that information. A popular feature of Facebook is the birthday notifications. If you choose to tell your birthday on your profile, be sure that you only post the date but not the year. Don't make it easy for identity thieves to piece together what they need to go get a loan in your name. Going on vacation? Good for you! However, a good vacation can turn bad if you announce it all over Facebook. "I'll be in Jamaica from February 13- 18th. So excited!" That's leaving a personal invitation to would-be burglars. Wait to post pictures of your trips until you get back home. Don't Talk To Strangers Unless it's part of your business, it's a good idea to keep strangers out of your social network. Think of your social groups online as you would offline. Would you invite strangers into your home simply because they asked to be friends? Probably not. Don't Inadvertently Have Faith in Links, Emails or Friends Many social networks get cracked into by spammers who use the confidence of these types of sites to get your information. This can happen via the form of a link that puts a virus on your computer to steal information, or an email that appears like it's from a person you have faith in but really isn't. Basically don't trust anything on these sites, even if it is from someone you know and trust very well. Their account could have been hacked and they might not even know it yet. If you receive a suspicious link or someone posts something peculiar on your wall - either ask the person what it is or just delete it. Always opt for safe over sorry. Social networks are clearly lots of fun and are a wonderful way to hook up with friends and family. Regrettably they can also be way too exposing if not managed. Be wise in your online adventures, take some preventative steps and you'll have no concerns as you go about connecting with the people you like spending 'virtual' time with! Identity thieves are getting smarter. However, with constant monitoring of your credit and a proactive watch for suspicious activity, you can protect yourself from identity theft damages that can cost thousands of dollars and years to repair. Identity theft services work to monitor your credit and scan the Internet black markets for sales of your credit card information and other private documents. Different online theft protection services offer different levels of monitoring, but here is one we found that's rated number one by the Identity Theft Protection Resource Center and it's called TrustedID and you can get a free trial of this fantastic product that could save you and your family a lot of grief.
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