John Sileo is an identity theft expert whose motto is the rather dispiriting ‘think like a spy’. It would be a shame if we all became that paranoid in our online dealings – one of the joys of the new, social web, is its openness – but he has a point. By putting so much of our lives online, we have opened a completely new, lucrative front for the bad guys to get at our stuff.
Here are some tips from John designed to keep you safe on the biggest social network of them all, Facebook.
The first is to lie, a little. John suggests not using your real name on your Facebook profile, add a nickname or tweak the spelling. Getting their hands on your real name is the first thing identity thieves do, why make a gift of it.
He also suggests opening multiple accounts. It’s against Facebook’s rules, but if you have a business then you can muddy the waters a little by doing this.
For number three, we’re back to lying again. In fact, Sileo is an advocate of publishing as little information as you can online – if you don’t need to share it, then don’t. Here, he recommends giving yourself a new age – we’ve all wanted to do that – as date of birth and age are key pieces of ID recovery information.
Fourth: never store your credit card details on Facebook.
Next, he recommends remembering that real life and online life can actually interact. Be wary of boasting about expensive new purchases, you never know who’s listening. And think like a thief: is there a jigsaw of information online that could be used to get hold of your stuff? For example, a post saying you’ve bought a new Merc, and a photograph that shows the keys hanging in your kitchen. Geotagging your photographs tells thieves where you are, checking in at a restaurant tells the world you’re away from home, announcing a holiday announces a two-week window to break in.
Sixth in John’s tips is an historical clean up. Go back through your timeline and check that you haven’t left any personal information up there – did you moan about your bank and reveal where your accounts are?
His final tip is the rather drastic, “deactivate your account”.
None of us will do that, the benefits of social media – for most of us, most of the time – far outweigh the possible risks. However, it is incumbent on all of us to take our online security seriously – those annoying password rules, which make them so hard to remember, are worth following as they make them equally hard to crack. And never use one password across multiple accounts, that could turn an annoying Facebook hack into a bank account-draining attack on your finances.
Toolkit can help your business get the most out of your social media accounts. From setting up a blog to making effective use of Twitter for marketing we’ll help you maximise the time you spend across these exciting new platforms. Call us on 02380 633644 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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