If you or your children, your friends or anyone you know for that matter, is using social media, Myrl Jeffcoat wrote the post below to help remind us all that being careful is key to keeping our identities and our children safe while exploring social media.
Read below for a few quick reminders:
There is something that sometimes gives me concern. It often happens while I'm visiting Facebook pages of some of my young family members. It is astonishing how relaxed they can sometimes be, with the amount of information they are willing to dish out and post, while using social media.
Granted, we are given the option of choosing our friends on Facebook. And we have some control over which entities have access to our more personal aspects in cyber space.
However, things can change among friends, and we don't always know well some of those folks we accept as "friends.”
Awhile back I was startled when I found one of my grandkid's full birthdate, and place of birth on his profile page. I immediately emailed, to warn him of potential dangers lurking.
Here are some things you should consider if you are using social media including Facebook, Twitter, etc.,
(1) It's probably ok, to provide the month and day you were born. However, providing the year you were born gives identity thieves a piece of key information for stealing your financial life. Couple that with the knowledge of your place of birth, and sometimes identity thieves can predict some of the numbers in your Social Security number, if not most or all.
(2) Be wary of providing your home address. Several months ago, Ponemon Institute conducted a study, which found that Social Media users were at risk of identity theft because of information they were providing on their social sites. Others were actually putting themselves at physical risk. The study found that most contacts that had been accepted as "friends" were actually just acquaintances or people they knew - some only slightly.
(3) If you want to talk or brag about your vacation or trips, wait until you return home. Telling the world that you're going to be gone for 2 weeks cruising the Bahamas, or wherever, is telling thieves, "Come rob me."
(4) Passwords are another area that needs serious consideration. If you use the same password for just about every on-line activity you perform, you are at risk. If you are using your mother's maiden name, or other predictable criteria, you're making it easy for crooks to guess your passwords.
(5) And, suggesting that passwords have 8 characters including a capital, doesn't mean you should choose, "sneezy - sleepy - dopey - doc - happy - bashful - grumpy - and sacramento" either. Only we blondes are allowed to do that:-)
(6) One of the more important things to consider is what you decide to put out in cyberland, has the potential of being looked at by future or current employers, school admissions people, and other entities that may not think it is funny, that you love to party down and get drunk every weekend, or recreationally smoke the "funny stuff."
If you use a few good sense precautions, you ought to remain reasonably safe, while exploiting the wonderful possibilities available through social networking. The key is to remain cautious and to use care.
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