Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Being Safe on Facebook

Facebook is what you would typically call a 'social networking site'.  There are hundreds of these social network sites onlime with Facebook being the most popular one.
These sites offer users a way to 'connect' to family members and friends without having to send emails to everyone. They offer photo and video sharing, although there is a size limit to the photos.
You post even the most mundane everyday happenings on your 'wall' and you can keep up with what's going on for your family or friends without contacting them directly
However, there are some dangers using social network sites. The dangers don't seem obvious, but as with as with everything else on the Internet, the crooks are looking for a way to cash in.
Because it seems so friendly and chatty; people tend to forget that nothing is safe from prying eyes on the Internet. The cyber thieves are just waiting for some bit of personal information that can lead to identity theft.  Telling your Facebook members you are going on a trip may be just letting a thief know that your home is unattended and they can rob you at their convenience.
If you are a Facebook member check your profile to make sure you are not giving away personal information that could help a cyber crook steal your identity.
This profile is pretty much empty.
My friends and family know all this stuff and strangers don’t need to know it! And for goodness sake; just pass on the ‘Share your profile’!
If you decide to join Facebook or another social network, be careful! One of the very first screens screens you will see when signing up is this one:
Click ‘Skip this step’!
Why? Because if you allow the social network (this is a screenshot for Facebook) access to your address book, everyone in your address book will be sent an invitation to join you on Facebook!  This includes anyone you do business with like your bank and maybe your boss! (And who knows may have access to your account once you give them permission to access the account. An unscrupulous employee might decide to send out some very bad emails from your email account.)
You can send out invitations to the folks you want to join you on your social network. Just click ‘Friends and then click ‘Invite friends’ and you get the screen pictured below.
I have some family members on my Facebook that I have not seen or heard from in ages.  It is nice to be able to keep up with what’s going on in their lives. These sites do have a good side; just be careful and send sensitive information to folks in another secure way.

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