How To: Practice Safe Social Networking

Social_networking_servicesSocial networking sites are a great resource for people to connect with friends, family, local businesses, the community, and gives people a chance to share information. The popularity of these sites continues to grow; however, the security risks also continue to grow. Many of these high traffic sites are a target for spammers, hackers, identity thieves, and other online criminals.

In order to prevent fraudsters from having access to your accounts you have to protect yourself. Use the following information to start practicing safe social networking.

1. Check your privacy settings on your social media sites. Modify settings so that your personal information is hidden.

2. Think before you post. Often times identity thieves find the information to your security questions by searching for your basic information, such as your birthday, hometown, pet names, mothers middle name, etc. This type of information can be used to hack your account.

3. Don’t accept every friend or follower request that comes your way. Identity thieves may create fake profiles to get information from you.

4. Realize that everything posted to a social media site is permanent. Be very hesitant before posting something.

5. Choose a strong password and change it every couple months.

6. Hackers can break into a friends account and send out messages that are fraudulent. If you suspect that a message is not from your friend—contact them a different way to find out.

7. Be aware that when you access social media sites in public areas it is easy for eavesdroppers to access your accounts.

8. Be wary about downloading 3rd party applications on your social media websites. Criminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information.

Remember; take caution when signing up for social media sites. They are a great way to connect with others; however, there are dangers. Make sure you talk to your kids about social media sites as well. It’s important to stay up to date on the changes that are frequently happening to the security settings on social media sites.

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