Once Your Personal Info Is Online, It's There
- Be careful what you share. Online communities such
as Facebook and Twitter ask you for a user name, e-mail address, and password
when you sign up. You may also be asked for more personal information,
such as your birth date, occupation, home and work addresses, phone
numbers, gender, marital status, and so on.
Web sites want personal
information because it helps them build community and enables them to
provide advertisers with demographic information about their members,
but whether to share those details is your decision.
Line: the more personal information you reveal online, the more
vulnerable you are to scams, spam, and identity theft.
- Be a minimalist - honesty is not always the best policy.
When signing up for free accounts like e-mail, blogs, instant messaging,
music or photo sharing, give only the required pieces of information.
- Look before you post. Before you sign up with a
boring reading, but you need to find out how the site will use your
personal info you supply when you sign up.
- Don't go public. Many sites enable you to control
who can see and comment on your blog. You don't let just anyone into
your house; lock your profile too!
- Think long-term. Once something is online, you can
never delete it. Just ask Lindsay Lohan. Anything published on the Web
could have been viewed, e-mailed, printed or archived by almost anyone.
- Stay alert. As you get to know more people online,
you may begin to share information casually. Scammers count on that
false security to gather personal information that can help them commit
fraud or steal your identity. Continue to use common sense as you make
online friends. Listen to your instincts about people.
Don't Be a Victim
- Don't accept friend requests from strangers. Does
this really need to be said? Probably since you were able to talk adults
have told you, "Don't talk to strangers." The same thing applies online.
Let's face it. Do you really think that super hot girl is having trouble
meeting people? Chances are it's some perv trying to get your personal
information to commit identity theft.
- Shop safely online. Make sure the site is
secure (the address starts with https not http). Never give out
bank account numbers, social security numbers, or any other personal
information that is not absolutely needed. Do not use a shared
or public computer for online shopping.
- Never rush to meet someone you have met online.
Even if you've met them on a reputable site and they seem trustworthy,
be suspicious if they're pushy about wanting to meet you. Make sure to talk
on the phone before meeting, meet in a public place, and bring a friend.
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