Make Sure Your Facebook Status Updates Are Safe

Misguided status updates on Facebook can be dangerous -- here's how to keep it safe.

We all like to brag on Facebook, don’t we? Yes, we do!

You often see people post status updates gleefully rabbiting on about trips to warm and wonderfully exotic lands. The swines! However, this blatant showing off can sometimes sadly lead to an unexpected surprise when they return back home… their lovely house has been ransacked and their possessions stolen.

How did this happen? Misguided status updates on Facebook are a major factor. Many people are not clued in to the importance of privacy settings — which means that their profile can be available for all to see.

For example, crooks see the holiday-themed status update, simply type in the person’s surname and where they live, then Google helpfully gives them a hit list of home addresses that the person could live at.

Holiday-themed status updates need to leave the dates and locations out. It’s also not terribly wise to include your address on any of your social media profiles – – as you are making the thieves’ job a hell of a lot easier.

It’s fine to put your general location (for example, London) and just be careful about the info that you post, but there is no reason to include addresses. If you really want someone to know where you live, then tell that (trustworthy) person directly.

You will be able to set your preferences to keep certain info private and away from prying eyes then visit the Facebook privacy page. This allows you to select the level of security – – with options of everyone, friends of friends, or friends only available for selection for various aspects of Facebook.

But it’s not just crafty burglars that exploit people’s lapse privacy settings. Online scammers are able to see your birthday, the place you were born, your address, pets, interests, and hobbies, if your privacy settings aren’t up to scratch, a scamster can use this knowledge to work out the answer to your security question in order to access your account. This is a surprisingly successful tactic for scammers, highlighting the need to be careful what info you give out online.

While many avoid this hazard by wisely editing their privacy setting, they spoil their previous good work by adding strangers as friends. Those pesky scammers regularly set-up fake profiles to snoop on your facebooking activities to aid their security-question antics.

People often accept the friend request because it appears to be from someone who is eye-poppingly attractive, when the horrible reality is actually an ugly scammer in his underpants looking to get control of your account. The horror! It is therefore advised only to accept friend request from people you actually know in reality.

If you must rub people’s faces in it about your holiday, then please wait until you get home to upload the holiday snapshots and then start the sickening bragging!

Readers, what do you think of our advice?

Andrew Parker writes regular commentary on online security, mobile forensics and computer forensic services.

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