Social Networking Safety Tips
• Choose your social network carefully.
• Keep personal information personal and know what you've posted about yourself.
A common way that hackers break into your account is by clicking the "Forgot your password?" link on the account login page. To break into your account, they search for the answers to your security questions, such as your birthday, home town, high school class, or mother's middle name. Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data, or commit other crimes such as stalking.
• Be selective about who you accept as a friend on a social network.
Identity thieves might create fake profiles in order to get information from you.
• Know and manage your friends.
Social networks can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Use tools to manage the information you share with friends in different groups or even have multiple online pages. If you’re trying to create a public persona as a blogger or expert, create an open profile or a “fan” page that encourages broad participation and limits personal information. Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know trust) more synched up with your daily life.
• Everything you put on a social networking site is permanent.
Even if you can delete your account, anyone on the Internet can easily print photos or text or save images and videos to their computer.
• Don't trust that a message is really from who it says it's from.
Hackers can break into accounts and send messages that look like they're from your friends, but aren't. If you suspect that a message is fraudulent, use an alternate method to contact your friend to find out. This includes invitations to join new social networks
• Use caution when you click links.
When you receive a message that contains a link from your friends on your social website, treat the link with the same screening you would with the links in email messages.
• To avoid giving away email addresses of your friends, do not allow social networking services to scan your email address book.
When you join a new social network, you might receive an offer to enter your email address and password to find out if your contacts are on the network. The site might use this information to send email messages to everyone in your contact list or even everyone you've ever sent an email message to with that email address. Social networking sites should explain that they're going to do this, but some do not.
• Be careful about installing extras on your site.
Many social networking sites allow you to download third-party applications that let you do more with your personal page. Criminals sometimes use these applications to steal your personal information. To download and use third-party applications safely, take the same safety precautions that you take with any other program or file you download from the web.