Tips to Keep Your ID Safe on Facebook

The next time you post about going on vacation—or even stepping out to the grocery store—think about who might be watching your status updates.

Your seemingly innocent status updates can provide a treasure trove of information for identity thieves.  When you post about your grocery store run or Caribbean cruise, you’re broadcasting to the world that your house will be vacant and ripe for burglarizing.  Even if that seems obvious to you, consider information that may be less obvious but no less valuable to would-be thieves.  Verification questions such as your date of birth, place of birth, or your pet’s name are common at financial institutions, but those answers should never be shared on Facebook.

If you’re one of the more than 24 million Americans whose Facebook profiles are mostly public, you should be extra careful to protect your personal information—and you might want to think about activating more privacy controls.

To protect your Facebook privacy, avoid:

  1. Posting your birthday and birthplace.
  2. Posting your home address, e-mail address, or phone number.
  3. Discussing upcoming events that will take you away from your house.  This is prime information for potential burglars or stalkers.
  4. Accepting a friend request from someone you don’t personally know.
  5. Maintaining a public profile.  The best way to keep your personal information safe is to limit who can access it.
  6. Accessing unnecessary applications and quizzes.  Not only will the application makers be allowed to access your profile information, pictures, and friends, but certain quizzes are designed to harvest personal information, such as the street you grew up on, the name of your first pet, or where you honeymooned.

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