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PostSubject: Protecting Your Personal Information   Thu Feb 25, 2010 10:27 pm

Protecting Your Personal Information

Many people post personal or nostalgic information about themselves on their profiles – first pet's name, childhood addresses, favorite pizza topping, etc.

Keep in mind that identity thieves, and/or persons willing to conduct malicious acts, have been know to mine this information and combine it with a stolen credit card or Social Security number to open bogus accounts, forge passports or conduct illegal activities.

Avoid posting:

Current and past addresses

Phone numbers and email addresses

Personal information like the above examples that might be asked for security questions

Upcoming vacation schedules (you could be targeted for a break-in)

Also, be protective of your family. It’s fine to list yourself as “married” in the info section, for instance, but don’t necessarily feel that you have to put down a link to your significant other. If you have young children, for their protection and privacy, I would recommend that you don’t include their names anywhere in the bio or in pictures of them that you decide to share.

Oh, and a word about age. While you may want to include your birthday on your profile, so people can message you on the big day, you should exclude the birth year. Your friends and family know how old you are, and there’s no reason for your professional ones to know.


One last – and serious – reminder:

Sexual predators are increasingly using the Internet to target both child and adult victims by posing as peers or friends. Although software is available to help you track your children's on-line activities, you can't follow them 24/7. Have the "don't talk with or email strangers" discussion with your kids as soon as they start using computers.

These are only a few of the precautions you and your kids should take when using social networking sites to protect your personal information, identity theft and/or malicious acts being committed by others.

It can also at times be all to easy to get comfortable and relaxed at a site that you frequently visit. Re-reading this post once a month can help serve as a reminder to be careful concerning what personal information you leave in a post.
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