The Federal Trade Commission estimates that about 9 million people experience identity theft on a yearly basis. Identity theft happens to all kinds of people and businesses and everybody who doesn't take the necessary precautions to safeguard their personal information could end up becoming a victim. One of the primary places where people are the most vulnerable to identity theft is through the use of online social networks. Major social networks such as Facebook have been the subject of much controversy pertaining to identity theft. There are some rules that a person can follow in order to protect their personal information from being stolen through their Facebook accounts.
Limiting Personal Information
One of the best ways to keep people from accessing personal information on a Facebook profile is to limit the amount of information that a profile contains and the type of information that is being presented. Since Facebook is a medium for finding people and staying in contact with personal friends it's okay to display a personal name. Other information such as addresses, telephone and cell phone numbers and work and school data shouldn't be added to the profile. Birthday information shouldn't be added to the profile at all since identity thieves are usually good at using them to discover a person's password. A Facebook account holder can use an alternate email address to give out this information only after they have screened the person who is requesting this type of information.
Facebook profiles are designed to be viewed by anyone who can long into the network. This means that almost anybody can log in can view a person's private information. Privacy settings give a profile user control over their friends, search, requests, news feeds and external sites. Facebook users should set their privacy settings to only except friends that they know. They should also limit amount of information that they send through news feeds and limit the websites from using their personal information in the event that they make a purchase through Facebook.
Don't Let Strangers Know Your Location
Users on Facebook can inform their friends where they're going to be located at through the use of their profile. This tool also allows users to give the time that they will appear at a particular location as well. This type of information should only be limited to the people that a person knows and trusts.
Treat Everyone Like an Identity Thief
Many people naively believe that the people who are closest to them wouldn't cause them any harm. In most cases this proves to be true but in sometimes is wrong to think this way. No one wants to protect themselves from those whom they love and trust the most but sometimes taking this action might be necessary with protecting personal information. After all a close friend could take a person's private information and make it public on their profile. Monitor friends profile every now and then to make sure that they are not displaying vital and important personal information. These are some simple steps that a person can take to keep their Facebook account from being vulnerable to identity theft.