Friday, August 26, 2011

Tips to Stay Safe on Facebook

By: Charles Sajatovich

Since Facebook began back in 2004 it has become extremely popular. Currently there are over 750 million active Facebook accounts. But because of its tremendous popularity Facebook also attracts many cyber criminals as well. Hackers and Cyber criminals are always trying to steal your personal and financial information and like to use Facebook as a way to get closer to you. Therefore, it is important you take certain precautions when using Facebook or any other social networking website. Here are a few tips to help keep you safe when using Facebook.

You should never post your address or telephone number on your Facebook profile. Potentially anything that you post to your Facebook account can be compromised. Let’s face it, if the cyber criminals are capable of stealing information from large companies then they are also capable of stealing your password or hacking into your Facebook account. You should never post your exact birth date either. This information is valuable to identity thieves. Here is a good rule to follow when posting anything to your Facebook account. If it is something that you would not want strangers to know or see than your best option is to not post it to your Facebook account.

It is never a good idea to accept friend requests from people that you do not know. This just allows the cyber criminal’s to get one step closer to stealing your personal information.

Be aware that any pictures or videos that you post or upload to your Facebook profile can be copied by anybody who has access to them. If someone can view a picture then they can also copy the picture as well. This includes anyone who may access your account without your permission. Be aware that deleting a particular picture at a later point in time does not delete any copies that may have already been made of this picture. Again, if it is not something you would want certain people to see your safest option is to not post it to Facebook.

Be on the lookout for quizzes that ask you personal questions. They might be tricks to try and obtain your personal information.

Do not post your email address on your Facebook page. This makes you an easy target for spammers and phishing email scams.

And finally be sure to use the Facebook security features. Here is look at some of the Facebook Security options available to everyone through their Facebook account.

Privacy Settings - Go to the Account button on your Facebook account and choose Privacy Settings. Here you can choose who can see what information of yours. You can choose to let everyone see everything or you choose to let only your friends see everything. You can customize your Facebook privacy settings to what you feel comfortable with. Choosing the Friends Only setting is the most secure.

Security Settings - Go to the Account button on your Facebook page and choose Account Settings and then choose Security. Here you have five security options to help keep your Facebook account secure. For example, you can enable login notifications so that Facebook emails you whenever your account is accessed from a computer or mobile device that hasn't been used by you before. Also, there is a Recognized Devices option which allows you to view all the locations that your Facebook account has been accessed from. These are just a few of the Facebook Security tools available to you.

Notification Settings - Go to Account,Account Settings, and then Notifications. Here you can set up email alerts that tell you whenever an action (new post on your wall, new friend request, new message) involving your Facebook account takes place. This option can be customized as well.

If you follow these tips you greatly reduce your chances of having your personal information stolen or compromised when using Facebook.