Author: June 24th, 2019on
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Social media provides plenty of options to connect with friends, find information, and generally enhance your life.
Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous and even cause harm if you aren’t careful. Although many people will never become the victim of identity theft, you don’t want to make yourself an easy target.
You may be inclined to rely on the social media channels themselves to protect you. But keeping yourself safe online is, primarily, your responsibility. Especially when you consider the dubious past of Facebook, for example, when it comes to privacy issues.
What info should you NOT share with Facebook? Avoid sharing these four things:
1. When Your House Will Be Empty
It’s tempting to post on Facebook about your upcoming vacation. But if you have your account set to “Public,” anyone can see when you’re going to be leaving your house empty. Knowing your house will be empty for any period of time makes it a perfect target for thieves.
Your best option is to wait to post until after you get back from vacation. But if you must post ahead of time, drop some hints that someone will be house sitting for you. Or brag about your state-of-the-art security system. Even if those things aren’t necessarily true, they could be enough to deter criminals looking for an easy mark.
Otherwise, you could always switch your Facebook account to “Private” to make sure such delicate information is only being seen by those you trust.
2. Your Address
Most people know enough to avoid sharing their address publicly for the world to see. But you may want to think twice about giving that information to Facebook, especially.
The site is notorious for its issues with privacy; millions of people’s passwords have been exposed in various data breaches. Although Facebook usually takes action to remove these glitches in its system, the fact that it happens in the first place should cause alarm.
The easiest way to stay safe, and keep your address out of the hands of scammers, is to keep that information to yourself.
3. Your Phone Number
If you lose your phone, you’ll likely lose dozens (if not hundreds) of people’s contact information if you don’t have a phone that backs that information up automatically.
At that point, it may seem like a good idea to tell your Facebook friends to text you with their contact information once you’ve transferred your number to a new phone. But it’s actually a huge privacy risk, and an invite for phone scams.
You don’t want everyone to have easy access to your phone number. Instead, consider posting that you lost your phone. Then, invite your closest friends to message you directly if they need to get your number.
4. Passwords to Other Accounts
Facebook recently caused waves when someone pointed out that the company was asking new users to log into their email accounts on the website. This essentially gave Facebook access to those users’ email passwords.
Although Facebook officially stated that email passwords weren’t being saved, some people were still skeptical of the claim given Facebook’s aforementioned history of privacy issues. Facebook has switched its confirmation requirements. But the point still stands: keep your passwords separate.
Don’t Rely On Facebook to Keep You Safe
For the most part, Facebook manages to keep its users safe. And if you use the site responsibly, you likely won’t face many issues. However, you shouldn’t trust Facebook solely to handle your data or your general safety responsibly. Take matters into your own hands.
A tool that could help you be safer in a range of interactions–socially or otherwise–is PeopleFinders. With this online search tool, you can check on people you’re planning to meet in person, try to make sure that an online seller is safe, or potentially verify that your neighborhood doesn’t house any violent criminals.
Facebook Marketplace is becoming a common way to sell things locally. So, if you want to meet up and buy something from a site user, you can use PeopleFinders to perform a background check on the person first to try and verify that they aren’t a scammer or otherwise unsafe.
Facebook has a lot to offer, but issues related to privacy remain. Remember that the information you post on Facebook is available to a broad audience. Even if you’re posting to a private group of people, think about what you’re posting before you post it.
Enhance your security even more in your day-to-day life with the ideas you find on the PeopleFinders blog. When you start thinking critically about your internet safety, you’ll find that doing things yourself is often better than letting companies do it for you.
Image attribution: Pixelbliss – stock.adobe.com
Categorized in: News