Social networking often counters your efforts to protect yourself from identity theft. You leave a trail of personal information that fraudsters can use for their own benefit.
Things you should never share online
In addition to your passwords, never share your:
- National Insurance number
- date of birth
- home address
- home telephone number
- town and place of birth.
All these facts could be used to compromise your accounts.
Customise your privacy options
Social networking sites give you lots of privacy control settings, make sure you don't settle for the defaults.
Check out the settings and see what options you have to customise. Your aim should be to limit who can access your personal information.
New settings are added over time so keep checking them. Sometimes social networking companies change their privacy terms and acceptable use policies.
Reduce LinkedIn details
Fraudsters use LinkedIn to target people.
Limit the information you share about your position at work. You should also remove contact information from your profile.
Remember that you can stop others accessing your network of contacts. It's common practice to make accounts more private.
Don't assume someone is who they say they are. Always verify they're real before you respond to them. Many fraudsters impersonate others online to defame someone, steal their identity, or to get money.
Look for anything unusual or out of the ordinary. If something doesn't look right, verify it directly.
Avoid sharing personal details
You wouldn't put a note saying 'way for the weekend' on your front door. So why do it on Twitter? Or Facebook? Social networks make it easy to let details out for anyone to see. Think about what you're sharing and how others might benefit from it.
- Search yourself to get an idea about what other people can see. Search your name on Google to see what appears, publicly.
- Get to know where you show up and adjust your profile, settings and habits accordingly.
- Know who your friends are. If you do get an unexpected invite to connect, check out the profile before you accept it.