Online Privacy & Safety: Keeping Yourself Safe On Facebook, Twitter, eBay, Message Boards, & More.
Online Privacy & Safety: Keeping Yourself Safe On Facebook,Twitter, eBay, Message Boards, & More.
I thought it might be important to talk about why you shouldn’t divulge TOO much information about yourself over the Internet. Also, how to keep some things that should stay private online, private..while still having a lot of fun of course. 😛
This does not just apply to social networking sites, but all around. Message boards, comments on blogs, eBay, and other online shopping, etc. WHY? Unfortunately, the world that we live in today isn’t as innocent as we may wish to believe, nor desire it to be.
There’s identity theft, stalkers, thieves, cons, and worse. By worse I mean the few but super scary who have been killed because of over the internet relationships and sharing to much information. Extreme case in point, an infertile woman befriended a pregnant woman online. She knew when she was to have her baby, where she lived, hunted her down and killed her for her unborn child.
Granted that and the Craigslist killer, and things of this nature are VERY uncommon, and you are more likely to fall victim to having your identity stolen, but on all counts, why take any chances? The Internet is a fun and wonderful way to meet new people, but it’s smart to protect certain things about yourself. Facebook is a common place where tons of information is constantly being shared.
On Twitter, some people are tweeting about where they are at most any given moment. Both can be fun to do, but you do have to be aware of the possible reality. Not all people are as good and decent as you are. If it’s something you really don’t want known by anyone and everyone..DON’T SHARE IT!
Information you need to protect and should never be given out:
1) Never publish your address online.
Even private messages can be seen by administrators, and though emails fly through cyberspace forever, that is a much safer way to do it if you need to share this personal information. Never put it in a comment or on a public board.
2) Never share your family phone number online. Even a cell number can be traced back to you .
Again do this through email with a trusted friend ONLY. People can find out your name and address by reverse searching you.
3) If you are pregnant:
a) Be sure to crop out the ultrasound information. Last name & hospital or doctor’s office. I see this mistake made all too often.
b) Do not post on a public forum or social network the hospital you are delivering at, date of scheduled c-section, induction, etc.
c) Keep address details private after the baby’s birth. Heck here in NY , my husband wouldn’t allow me to even put a stork outside to announce a birth. This seems so innocent, but it’s been responsible for several kidnappings believe it or not. Not trying to scare anybody.. just be smart.
4) Watch what is in your photographs.
I have seen many photos of moms, families, friends in pictures with their cars in the background, or them leaning against one with the license plate in full view. If you are looking to keep your personal details private, don’t let such things be visible in your pictures.
5) Always respect other’s privacy.
A lot of people post pictures of them with friends when the friend has no clue they are online, and many people are not ok with that. Ask before you post. If it’s ok, fine. Just let the person decide. I don’t post my husband or older son’s face online. Body at times but never their faces.
It is due to their right to privacy. Respect it, though I know it’s fun to share photos. If its a big public event with onlookers and cameras and video cams everywhere, like me posting a recital video. Consider that to be ‘ok’ unless told otherwise.
6) Be careful who you choose to meet in real life.
There are thousands of online dating sites, and great friendships and relationships are built from these sites all the time. Message boards, Facebook, My Space, Match.com, e Harmony. The list goes on and on. Be sure you REALLY know somebody well before you decide to meet in real life, and if and when you do, do make sure you do the following:
a) Exchange a letter or letters first. This way you have their correct address, and have corresponded beforehand just in case.
b) Meet in a public place with lots of people, preferably in daylight.
c) Meet with another couple or group of friends. Doing this at first is optimal.
d) Always bring a cell phone and be sure to have it fully charged just in case you need it. Everyone who goes out should have a cell phone in hand. I even got my 14 year old one for peace of mind’s sake. It’s worth the bill.
7) This seems like a no brainer but…Keep all financial information PRIVATE!
Don’t ever give another person any of your bank details, checking account number, credit card information. Shop only in online stores with a SAFE & Secure checkout. You will see the little yellow padlock on the lower right hand side of the window on your computer screen. Make sure it’s always there before entering important payment information, OR your social security number.
**WATCH OUT FOR THAT SS#. DO NOT SHARE THAT! THAT’S THE EASIEST WAY TO GET YOUR IDENTITY STOLEN!**
8) Accounts get hacked. Protect them.
Twitter, Facebook, My Space, eBay, Paypal, and sometimes even message board passwords can be found out and your account compromised.
a) As totally annoying and inconvenient as it may be try and change your password every few months to keep things safe.
b) I know it’s VERY tempting to do, but don’t use the same password for every account that you have. That’s a dangerous practice. My eBay and Paypal once got hacked that way, and money stolen some years back. Play it smart!
c) Make the password hard to guess. Don’t have any of your childrens’ names that are made public in them. Your name or anything easy to guess like your birthday that is shown right on your Facebook page is a no-no. Make it more challenging. My Facebook got hacked and now I save an impossible to remember password in my text files. Something to consider doing. No more problems. 😀
d) Use a password storer program like Roboform, etc. It stores all of your passwords, you never have to type anything in, and they are long and unguessable to hackers. My husband swears by this.
9) Be careful what you are tweeting about.
Not just the above information in tweets, but also your current status, (whereabouts), at any given moment in time. Celebrities often do this, and it could create a problem with say a unstable fan, or even a regular person who maybe doesn’t realize someone has become obsessed with them.
You can say like, ‘I’m at the beach right now chilling out eating fries.’ But not, ‘I’m at Long Beach right now by the food court having some fries.’ This might just be a little TMI- Too much information.
Nobody REALLY needs to know that, and I think it’s smarter to alter little details such as that. There is really no benefit in sharing them anyway. Keep you and your family safe. This advice is not just for celebs, but for YOU..the average person, much more so.
10) Photographs you share will be in cyberspace for years if not forever. Watch what you post!
Only share pictures you wouldn’t mind being viewed by anyone, including people you know or meet, for many years to come. Many a time have things come back to bite people in the butt that were shared online…photographs included. So just be wise with what you post. People don’t realize how permanent these things can be. Better safe then sorry.
We all love to social network. Building online, that often can become offline, friendships & relationships that start at the keyboard. Just be smart, be safe, and always think before you type. Ask yourself, ‘Is this something I want potentially thousands upon thousands of people to see or know?’ If not, don’t post it!
Just some food for thought!
Thanks for stopping by!