Social networking sites, like Facebook and Twitter, have become the world’s largest databases of personal information. Not surprisingly, many of these sites have become a haven for identity thieves, con artists, and scammers.
So how can you stay safe and still be social? By exercising a little common sense and taking a few precautions, you can protect yourself online without sacrificing any social interaction.
Staying Safe, Smart, and Social
- Keep your firewall security and anti-virus software up-to-date.
- Never log in from public hotspots. Most social networking sites don’t have a secure login (https), so your user name and password could be swiped at any time. Only log in from trusted wireless networks.
- Use strong passwords comprised of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Be cautious with links and files. If you’re not sure about the source, don’t download or click on the link. Hackers will often post links in comments to try and trick you into clicking through.
- Remember: If you wouldn’t say it or do it in public, don’t post it online.
- Keep track of what your friends post about you. We’ve all heard stories about people losing clients or being fired because of inappropriate online content.
- Be careful who you follow/friend. It may feel good to have hundreds of friends, but in reality, you only know a fraction of those people.
- Be wary of add-ons. Many games and plug-ins are written by third party companies and not the social network. Look before you leap.
- Do a search on yourself; you may be surprised. If you feel you have too much information out there, you can always restrict your online profile.
Do you monitor your online sharing? Do you think it’s necessary?