How to Protect Your Social Networks from Identity theft, Scams, and Internet Fraud

By Devon Glenn 

Today marks the tenth anniversary of Safer Internet Day, a not-so-fun, but very important holiday for reminding ourselves to check our privacy controls and use the internet more responsibly. It’s called “safer” rather than “safe” because the only true form of protection from fraud is abstinence — and who’s going to abstain from using the internet?

No one we know.  Here’s how to protect yourself from scammers, spammers, and hackers in 2013.

1. Twitter, which suffered a data breach earlier this month, has four tips for users in its Help Center:

  • Use a strong password.
  • Watch out for suspicious links, and always make sure you’re on before you enter your login information.
  • Don’t give your username and password out to untrusted third-parties, especially those promising to get you followers or make you money.
  • Make sure your computer and operating system is up-to-date with the most recent patches, upgrades, and anti-virus software.

2. Google has updated its Good to Know section to include new fun facts about your privacy. Social media users will want to check out the sections on:

This year, Google also recommends that you stop ignoring those two-step verification prompts in your Gmail and sign up already. Why? According to Google, “Because bad guys would have to not only get your password and your username, they’d have to get a hold of your phone” in order to break into your account.

3. This infographic shows how to protect your social networks, especially Facebook, from an unexpected threat: your romantic partners.

4. Microsoft is inviting students ages 13 to 18 to submit a safety-themed creative project with the “Safer Online Teen Challenge” to educate others about internet safety. Adults will want to check out the Internet Security at Work toolkit.

Founded by the European Commission’s SafeBorders project in 2004 and adopted by the Insafe network, Safer Internet Day is celebrated in 90 countries around the world. For more tips throughout the day, follow the hashtag #SID2013 on Twitter.

Image by Aaron Amat.