Staying Safer While Using Facebook and Social Media

By
Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

 

 

Late last evening, I received notice from my 20 year old grandson that he had allowed his Nana (me) to be his "friend" on Facebook.  I considered it an honor, since he hadn't allowed his mother to be.

However, I was horrified to see the amount of information he was dishing out on his page. 

Granted, we are given the option of choosing our friends on Facebook.  And we have some control over which entities will have access to our more personal aspects in cyber space.

However, things can change among friends, and we don't always know well some of those folks we accept as "friends."

Imagine my horror when I saw my grandkid's full birthdate, and place of birth on his profile page.  I immediately emailed, to warn him of potential dangers lurking.

Here are some things you should consider if you are using social media including Facebook, Twitter, etc.,


(1) It's probably ok, to provide the month and day you were born.  However, providing the year you were born gives identity thieves a piece of key information for stealing your financial life.  Couple that with the knowledge of your place of birth, and sometimes identity thieves can predict some of the numbers in your Social Security number, if not most or all.

(2) Be wary of providing your home address.  Ponemon Institute recently conducted a study, which found that Social Media users were at risk of identity theft because of information they were providing on their social sites.  Others were actually putting themselves at physical risk.  The study found that most contacts that had been accepted as "friends" were actually just acquaintances or people they knew - some only slightly.

(3) If you want to talk or brag about your vacation or trips, wait until you return home.  Telling the world that you're going to be gone for 2 weeks cruising the Bahamas, or wherever, is telling thieves, "Come rob me."

(4) Passwords are another area that needs serious consideration.  If you use the same password for just about every on-line activity you perform, you are at risk.  If you are using your mother's maiden name, or other predictable criteria, you're making it easy for crooks to guess your passwords. 

(5) And, suggesting that passwords have 8 characters including a capital, doesn't mean you should choose, "sneezy - sleepy - dopey - doc - happy - bashful - grumpy - and sacramento" either.  Only we blondes are allowed to do that:-)

(6) One of the more important things to consider is what you decide to put out in cyberland, has the potential of being looked at by future or current employers, school admissions people, and other entities that may not think it is funny, that you love to party down and get drunk every weekend, or recreationally smoke the "funny stuff." 

If you use a few good sense precautions, you ought to remain reasonably safe, while exploiting the wonderful possibilities available through social networking.  The key is to remain cautious and to use care.

 

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Re-Blogged 9 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ken's Home Team LLC. | 360.609.0226 | Portland, OR & Vancouver, WA Real Estate Team 09/24/2010 01:51 PM
  2. 1~Judi Barrett 09/24/2010 07:47 PM
  3. 1~Judi Barrett 09/24/2010 07:47 PM
  4. Gail C. Harris 09/25/2010 12:00 AM
  5. Steve Merson 512 412 1621 09/25/2010 04:28 AM
  6. Jeff Dowler, CRS 09/25/2010 04:53 AM
  7. Stephanie Reynolds 09/25/2010 05:45 AM
  8. Susan Laxson CRS 09/25/2010 02:15 PM
  9. Mary Macy 09/25/2010 02:42 PM
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Rainmaker
69,526
Janet Fetterman
Royal Shell Real Estate Inc - Ocala, FL
Selling Luxury Lifestyles...

My medical school nephew is my friend on facebook and I am constantly sending him email and articles about the importance of his face book personna....the kids don't believe it till it is toooooo late!!!!

All we can do is keep on sending out the alarm. Thank you for the post!

Sep 25, 2010 02:25 PM #81
Rainer
238,917
Jason Potrzeba
Webster Bank - Providence, RI
Mortgage Banking Officer

#3 Broadcasting anywhere from a handful of friends up to hundreds of online contacts that your house will be vacant while you are gone for a week always has me scratching my head. I've seen the vacation post even from people who I thought had more common sense. Maybe they are just so wrapped up in the excitement of taking a trip their judgements gets slightly impaired.

 

 

Sep 25, 2010 02:44 PM #82
Rainer
85,486
Nona Swann
Swann & Associates Real Estate - Indialantic, FL
Serving the needs of the Sellers in Brevard County

I enjoyed your post. I was watching the news on Thursday and found that bill collectors are now looking on facebook. One lady was appalled that  a bill collector had contacted her "friends" on facebook to get to her to tell her to pay her bills. Unbelieveable!

 

Sep 25, 2010 02:47 PM #83
Rainmaker
232,729
Ken Barker Realtor® GRI, E-Pro Certified
Dilbeck Real Estate - Burbank, CA

Myrl - This post has some fabulous key ideas. I did not find it on the original post but a re-blog from Jeff Dowler. I am so glad he re-blogged this. I have not been as active on anyother SEO than AR. I have the accounts for all the FB, Twitter, Linked-in but since I have been so active on AR I have not afforded the time to go elsewhere.

You have some fabulous topics and we should really pay attention. Vacation, birthdates, addresses. I hope people take heed and change or modify their profiles. I know I am

Sep 25, 2010 03:29 PM #84
Ambassador
2,351,969
Fred Griffin, on leave of absence from ActiveRain
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

Myrl, the "New Generation" seems to have no expectations or concern of privacy.   They just put it all out there. 

What about criminals profiling potential victims?  What about tyrannical dictatorships (yes it could happen here).

Google, Facebook, etc. are not just storing your information...  Read the User Agreements - they OWN your information, and they claim the right to use it as they please.

And ditto to the posts about FourSquare and other locator services.  You are telling Stalkers where you are.

Time for a major re-think on what you are putting onto the Internet.

 

Sep 25, 2010 06:26 PM #85
Rainmaker
2,516,419
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Gary - I've found some truth in what you are saying:-)

John - So true!  Once it leaves our fingertips and is posted in cyberspace, we can lose control in a hurry!

Erika - I am certainly hopeful that it will be helpful:-)

Chris - I'm glad there are programs out there to help inform young people of the dangers lurking out there.

Sep 26, 2010 03:41 AM #86
Rainmaker
2,516,419
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Laxson - Thank you so much for the re-blog!  It is very appreciated!  When I wrote this piece, I had no idea it would strike the chord that it has.  But I think any awareness to help spare the public from cyber dangers is a good thing. 

Sep 26, 2010 03:44 AM #87
Rainmaker
2,516,419
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

William - I'm glad you made the revisions!  I think you and I tend to have personalities that are a little more open than some folks.  It isn't always in our nature to think self-protection.  BUT, we are TRAINABLE. . .LOL

Sep 26, 2010 03:46 AM #88
Rainmaker
2,516,419
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Elizabeth C - A 17 year old girl with a male "friend" in Turkey. . .Now that is frightening.  I think it was earlier this year, that a little gal boarded a plan for some exotic destination because of some guy she met via the internet.  Her parents managed to get her back, but the guy turned out to be quite abusive.  It is important that we continue trying to drive home the importance of on-line safety.

Sep 26, 2010 03:50 AM #89
Rainmaker
2,516,419
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Ann - I hadn't expected this blog to be featured, but am amazed that it resonated with enough Rainers to be reblogged to that degree.  I'm am grateful that attention is being brought to this subject, and will possibly save folks from possible heartache.

Concord - For many of the young, identity theft and other internet born crime, is something that happens to other people:-(

Jason P - I am actually guilty of committing #3.  I've wised up a bit recently.  But it has been a process. 

Sep 26, 2010 03:56 AM #90
Rainmaker
2,516,419
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Nona - There should be a law against that kind of behavior.  I also understand that attorneys scour social media pages for insight of those involved in litigation.

Ken - My behavior with social media is close to your's.  I am primarily an ActiveRainer.  One in awhile I post to Facebook.  I don't do Twitter.  I think anything that needs to be said with so few characters, probably isn't worth saying:-)  However, I understand that a news guy that was kidnapped in a war zone, actually Tweeted his way to a rescue without his captors realizing it.  That may be a catalyst for my future behavior.  One never knows. . .LOL

Fred G - All the points you bring up in your comment, are things that could possibly happen, and should be workth considering while altering on-line social media behavior.  Thank you for putting focus on those points.

Sep 26, 2010 04:02 AM #91
Rainmaker
101,391
Dona Reynolds
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers - Saint Joseph, MO
St. Joseph MO

Myrl, What a awesome post and definitely much needed!  I am amazed at even adults putting their full info out there.  So glad the post was featured!

Sep 26, 2010 04:37 PM #92
Rainmaker
2,516,419
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Dona - I think since certain capacity is available on social media sites which allows folks into an unsafe position.  it puts them into "comply" mode, rather than thinking mode.  For instance Facebook has the space to input your full birthdate. 

Sep 27, 2010 01:42 AM #93
Rainer
15,001
Rayna Mckay
RE/MAX Real Estate Advocates - Calgary, AB

Even worse than that information now is the use of fore square. The application on your smart phone allows you to check in at places. A girl that I went to high school with had checked in as watching a movie at "home" and it provided a map to get to her house. Now that's scary.

Sep 27, 2010 08:13 AM #94
Ambassador
1,540,892
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Myrl, " Being Trainable" that has been said of me before, I think back when I was a little kid and almost burned the house down was when I first heard that. The power went out in the house and I don't recall being able to find candles so I made a huge candle by squeezing what seemed like a half a roll of waxed paper into a tall roll and that pretty well did light up the whole Kitchen, literally. I have always been sort of on the creative side, at least the Firemen thought so, :-)

Sep 27, 2010 03:30 PM #95
Rainmaker
2,516,419
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

William - Sometimes when you say we live on parallel universes, I don't think you realize how close to the truth that is.  When you speak of almost burning the house down as a kid, I nearly did the same thing.  Only, I did significant damage.  I was about 4 or 5 years old, when I wanted to find something in a walk-in closet. I lit a candle to do it.  I can remember it as if it were yesterday - because it was that traumatic.  After I found what I wanted in the closet, I was sitting on the couch in the living room facing the bedroom door where the closet was.  My dad was sitting in his chair, with his back to the door, but beside it.  He was reading the evening paper.  I saw smoke billowing out of the closet door, and my dad yelling, "I smell smoke!"  It did damage to about 1/3 of our house.  But the good news was that mom and dad had a light installed in that closet once construction repairs were complete.

Sep 27, 2010 04:08 PM #96
Rainer
30,892
Ryan Case
Pacific Servicing - Temecula, CA

I definitely agree to express caution when using sites such as Facebook!

Sep 29, 2010 04:08 AM #97
Ambassador
2,079,669
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor
This is a MUST read for any and everyone that uses social media!!! GREAT post!!!
Sep 29, 2010 06:20 AM #98
Rainmaker
460,375
Paul Walker
Equity Fifty Five Realty, LLC - Scott AFB, IL
Scott AFB IL Area Realtor

Absolutley RIGHT, Myrl it is amazing what people post on FB, Twitter etc. sometimes even shocking. Thanks for this grea blog!

Oct 01, 2010 04:36 AM #99
Rainer
22,466
Michael Izquierdo
LA Pocket Listings - South Pasadena, CA

Dead on,

I have friends that work in hr departments of fortune 500 companies that routinely include facebookas a background check on all new hires.

Oct 01, 2010 08:05 AM #100
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