Posted May 30, 2013 by Jennifer Kane in Technology

Secrets to fear-free social media use

Numerous Americans enjoy social media, but it scares them, also. Even though they are reconnecting with old high school classmates, viewing photographs of a colleague&rsquos new infant and chatting with a pal about a new job, social media customers are also worrying about having their identity stolen from a social media site.

That fear, nevertheless, is not stopping them from like on their profiles the kind of individual details that identity thieves adore, a new study from TransUnion indicates. Practically half of participants in the Google Customer survey commissioned by TransUnion stated they have been concerned about obtaining their identities stolen from a social media web site, but a lot more than a third also said they included individual information such as their birth date, address, employer and phone quantity on their profiles.

&ldquoSocial media is a excellent way for individuals to connect and exchange tips, but social media customers require to be careful about what private data they include in their profiles,&rdquo says Heather Battison, vice president of consumer education for TransUnion. &ldquoRemember, the common guidelines of connecting and engaging with other folks online is the exact same in social media as everywhere else &ndash use frequent sense when giving somebody details.&rdquo

Social media customers can much better safeguard their identities with these ideas:

* Less is a lot more: Avoid providing out individual info on social media websites, such as address, telephone quantity or your birth date. Omit this sort of info from your profile. Identity thieves can open accounts and commit a number of economic crimes with just this information.

* Never leave a cookie trail: If you use a public or work pc to log into your social media accounts, do not save your password on that public Pc. Beware &ndash some social media sites default to automatically keep in mind your password when you sign in, so be certain to check (or uncheck the box, if needed). If the internet site autosaves and you don&rsquot catch it, your account could open up and be accessible the subsequent time a person else uses that Computer to check out that website.

* Lock it up: Adjust your privacy settings on all social media accounts to the most restrictive, which makes it possible for you to handle all information that is posted. Set your profile to &ldquoprivate&rdquo and make positive you have to approve all pal requests, comments, photo tags, links or posts that seem on your web page.

* Get creative with passwords: Create intricate, special passwords for every single social media account. Modify passwords every single handful of months.

* Keep away from more than-sharing: Never reveal travel plans on social media websites. If they know your property is empty even though you&rsquore away, cyber thieves could grow to be actual thieves, and break into your house to rob it although you&rsquore out of town.

* Teach children about social media security: While your children may be a lot more adept at navigating the Net than you are, they may not completely realize the implications of posting private data, pictures or potentially offensive material. Make positive your youngsters realize and follow the exact same rules as you do for social media use.

* Monitor your credit: Make sure you periodically verify your credit reports for accuracy and think about signing up for a credit monitoring service, which can alert you by e-mail to adjustments in your credit report &ndash a useful way to prevent identity theft.

For much more data on how to lessen your exposure to identity theft, check out www.TransUnion.com.

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Jennifer Kane