Love it or hate it, Facebook is everywhere. It seems like everyone is "Facebooking" these days. The whole social networking phenomenon has millions of Americans sharing their photos, favorite songs and details about their class reunions on not only Facebook, but MySpace, Twitter and dozens of similar sites. With Facebook reaching 500 million users in 2010, find out how it could affect not only your social life but also your bank account.
When it comes to sharing your birthday on your profile take the same approach as your mother: Never reveal your true age. It may seem innocent enough, but many of your financial records are tracked by your birth date, location and age. Hackers trying to steal your identity will have an easier time if they have access to that information. If you don't want to part with the "Happy Birthday!!!" wall posts, you can keep up the day you were born but take down location and year.
If you've ever dealt with any website that requires a password you know the bizarre questions they ask to verify your login credentials. If you use your high school mascot, favorite pet, mother's maiden name or any other fact that others might know, it will make things easier for cyber-criminals trying to guess your passwords. Make sure there is nothing on your page that relates to your password so you avoid giving out any clues.
How to Fix It:
Do not post your home address or any links to it. This shouldn't require much effort, but many people forget they have their address on their profiles. Even if you don't have your home address on Facebook, do you have a link to your resume with your address online?
People have become desensitized to privacy in our highly digital and technologically invasive society. Everyone has heard the horror stories of people writing status updates that have come back to haunt them in one way or another, but you may be revealing things you didn't even realize.
Have you ever had a countdown to a vacation? Or talked about your excitement for a weekend trip? Do not, under any circumstances, share your vacation plans. This is an open invitation for criminals to come and do some shoplifting in your very own living room. If you still want share, post the cute family photos of you sunbathing on the beach after you return home.
More and more employers are checking out Facebook profiles before they hire. Even if you enable privacy settings for people within your network, your future employer may know someone who went to college with you or lives in your neighborhood, allowing them access to your page. If you are already hired that gives you more incentives not to take out the stress of work on your status. Pretend that everything you put on your site is public information whether you block it or not.
Most analysts called this step absolutely mandatory. You should find out where the security settings are on Facebook and take the time to learn how to use them to control what information is shared with people, applications and Web sites.
How to Fix It: