The personal data you share with your online social circles is only as secure as the weakest link in your network. No matter how strict you are about your privacy settings, the careless behavior of one of your connections could cause trouble for you, leading identity thieves to get their hands on your personal data.
If you feel like you have a weak link – or even a few – in your network, don’t engage with that person’s posts. If the person is careless with his/her own personal information, you can bet he/she might be even more careless with yours. You may want to disconnect from the person altogether. Interact with him/her outside of the digital world instead. Not someone you’d meet up with in the real world? Then why connect with the person online anyway?
Of course, you don’t want to be the weak link either. Here are two key tips to help ensure you aren’t:
- Don’t click on anything and everything your connections post, especially if something seems out of character for a friend to say or share in the first place. Remember that part of an identity thief’s M.O. is hijacking other people’s social networking accounts and posting content they hope will entrap others into clicking on links that infect other computers or accounts.
- Don’t accept any and every friend request. You likely joined a social network because you want to share certain elements of your life with your family and friends. So keep it to that. If you open the flood gates and befriend people you don’t know very well or haven’t been close to in years, start limiting what you post. Someone could easily take a screen shot of your data and you’ll have no control over where it ends up.