●What Your Facebook Profile May Be Telling ID Thieves
●Top 10 Facebook Safety Tips
●10 Bad Things About Facebook
●Facebook Safety Tips to Stop Social Networking Hangovers
●7 Things to Stop Doing Now on Facebook
●6 Things You Should Never Do on Twitter or Facebook
●6 Things You Should Never Reveal on Facebook
●6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes
●Burglars Picked Houses Based on Facebook Updates
●Stolen: True Tales of Identity Theft
●Social networking security and safety tips
●Online Safety on MySpace and Other Social Networking Sites
●Social Networking Sites: Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens
What Your Facebook Profile May Be Telling ID Thieves
by Jennifer Waters
Monday, January 10, 2011
Seemingly harmless information can help ID thieves unlock key to your identity.
Your pet's name is a fraudster's best friend.
You may think you're revealing precious little when you tell your Facebook friends that you're dressing your pooch, Puddles, in your favorite color, red, for brunch at Grandma's on Sunday. But you've actually just opened a Pandora's box of risks.
The information consumers willingly, and often unwittingly, post on social-media websites can be a gold mine for fraudsters looking to steal everything from your flat-screen TV to your identity.
What's more, tidbits like your birth date, birthplace and the last school you attended are typically the challenge questions posed by bank websites and online retailers to verify your identity.
"Despite all the awareness that people have about identity fraud and privacy on social networks, there is a disconnect between [that and what they are] disclosing in online space and social environments," said Thomas Oscherwitz, chief privacy officer for ID Analytics, a San Diego-based consumer risk management firm.
More than 24 million Americans 18 years old and older are still leaving their social-network profiles mostly public, meaning they aren't activating privacy controls that limit who can see their information online, according to a Harris Interactive survey conducted in October for ID Analytics.
The survey also found that nearly 70 million U.S. adults on social-networking sites include their birthplace — one of the most common security questions asked by financial institutions — on their profiles.
"The information people are disclosing is not the entire piece of the puzzle but it's certainly helpful," Oscherwitz said. Thieves steal identities in pieces, he said, and layer them on each other for a clearer picture.
Say you post on a social-media site that you're at a tanning salon ahead of your week-long trip to the Bahamas the day after your birthday. You're telling potential burglars that not only are you away from home for an hour or so, but beginning Tuesday, your home likely will be empty for seven days.
"Even listing daily activities can let strangers know your routine and put you at risk," said Gail Cunningham, spokeswoman for the National Foundation of Credit Counseling.
Too much information can hurt you in other ways. John Sileo, a Denver-based identify-theft expert, said your online chatter could equip an ex-spouse with ammunition for a court challenge. Future or current employers could have a problem with information about your personal life that they deem inappropriate for a member of their staff, he said.
You also could be furnishing a would-be stalker with information about your whereabouts. "We are giving people the little pieces of our trust or access to our trust that allows them to get bigger things out of us," said Sileo, founder of the ThinkLikeaSpy.com newsletter.
Tips to Stay Safe
Here's some advice from Sileo, who wrote the "Facebook Safety Survival Guide," about protecting online privacy on all social-networking sites:
● Never post your exact date and place of birth. It's invaluable information to identity thieves, particularly when the two are bundled together.
● Never post your address, phone number or email address. This is plum information to scammers and marketers who are looking for nuggets of your identity.
● Control who can see your personal information. Many social-networking sites have privacy features, but they change often. Know what they are, stay on top of them and restrict your page to your real friends, not friends of friends or someone you met in a bar.
● Limit information about your activities. If you must brag about a trip or a fabulous party, do it after the fact.
● Remember that what you post is public and permanent. Don't put up embarrassing photos that you wouldn't show your grandmother. Don't complain about your job or your boss. Don't say something to or about someone that you wouldn't say to his face. Don't threaten others.
● Know the four types of Facebook users: friends, outsiders, businesses and enemies.
● You should know exactly who wants to be your friend or is asking you to link into their network. Some people will befriend your friends to get to you or your company.
● Be wary of seemingly harmless quizzes. When someone invites you to take a survey, say, "10 Things Others Don't Know About You" or "My Favorite Things," it may be designed to harvest your data. The name of the street you grew up on or your favorite vacation spot could be clues to your passwords.
● Before you share any information anywhere online about yourself or your workplace, ask this question: What would the consequences be if this information fell into the hands of my boss, competitor or people who don't like me?
Top 10 Facebook Safety Tips
Article by vishalseafarer
Edited & published by Michele McDonough on Dec 21, 2010
Facebook has changed the way people connect and socialize online. With so much of your information available, it is important to keep yourselves safe from people who try to take advantage by using the items posted online. Read on to find out important Facebook safety guidelines.
Facebook Safety: Are You at Risk?
In recent days, Facebook has implemented many privacy controls. However, the default privacy controls still make your posts and many other features public. This allows any user to see your wall, info and other information. Leaving such information online is giving access to anyone and everyone.
Facebook Safety TIps
1．Check Your Facebook Privacy Controls
By default, Facebook privacy controls still expose a lot of data. The first and foremost guide to Facebook safety is to change the privacy controls according to your needs and keep checking them often as Facebook is known to update its privacy terms and conditions without warning.
2．Don't Write All Your Personal Information on Facebook
Facebook is a social networking site and not your job resume or CV, or your spouse to be who would love to know all your personal information. Controlling the amount of information you post on Facebook will keep you safe even if you don't set your privacy controls.
3．Make Sure You Apply Privacy Controls on the Photos that You Post
Pictures are worth a thousand words and this will always hold true, be it Facebook or not. Anyone can get to know more about you and others close to you by studying the pictures that you have posted online.
4．Don't Accept All Friend Requests - Only accept friend requests from people who you know. There have been thousands of cases of cyber-bullying and other scandals on Facebook because of accepting people you don't know and getting close to them. Later they get to know you well and then start taking advantage of you.
5．Don't Use Facebook Over an Un-Secure Wi-Fi Network
Using tools like firesheep, a person beside you can spy on you and your online activities and you wouldn't even know. Wi-Fi networks tend to be weak and it is better to avoid using sites that do not have a secure connection (https sites provide secure connection). Facebook doesn't have an https secure connection and if you are not careful enough, the person sitting beside you could easily view your activities or worse, steal your passwords or delete your account.
6．Malicious Links - Don't Click Any Links That You Might Suspect
Sharing links is something that many people on Facebook do. So malicious links tend to spread fast and people click them and most of them don't even realize that they just clicked a malicious link. It is only after their computer starts acting weird, they realize that their computer is infected. It is better to think twice before clicking any link.
7．Be Sure to Log Out of Your Facebook Account
Many people just forget to log out of their Facebook account. This is really dangerous. The Facebook safety tip for you here is to make sure that you log out of your Facebook account every time as you may never know who might use your computer and tamper with your account.
8．Use Strong Passwords and Keep Changing Passwords Often
Strong passwords like th1s1spass (this is pass with 1 replaced for i) will help you remember your passwords easily and make them tough to crack. It is recommended to have such passwords and also change them once every month or two to keep your account from getting hacked (if you are one of those who uses Facebook on different computers.)
9．Monitor Your Children
Kids who have just entered their teenage years may be unaware of the bad things about Facebook. As a parent it is up to you to monitor their online activities so that they do not become a victim of cyber-bullying.
10．Don't Get Addicted to Facebook
With the tons of fun applications and features on Facebook, it is easy to get addicted. One should realize that the virtual world of Facebook is not everything and there is world outside which remains to be explored.
10 Bad Things About Facebook
Article by vishalseafarer
Edited & published by Michele McDonough on Oct 24, 2010
Who is not on Facebook these days? There are certain things that you should know about Facebook to make sure you stay out of possible trouble. Get to know the bad side of Facebook before you spread more of your personal information online and let people take advantage of you.
Why is Facebook Bad?
Facebook has had a stellar impact on social networking and has changed the way people socialize with one another. There are loads of kill-your-time stuff on Facebook that will keep you engaged all day long. You might love it but you are at a risk, at the cost of your privacy. You are always affected but you may not know how you are affected until someone comes along and makes you realize the gravity of the situation. The following are the most common problems that qualify as "bad things about Facebook."
Bad Things About Facebook
"Good Privacy" is not really a term associated with social networking, especially with a giant like Facebook that is considered to be the backbone of social networking. One should be really careful about what one posts on their wall or others' walls. The privacy settings should be well understood and set according to one's preferences. Applications and other users can take advantage of you if you are not cautious enough.
With tons of applications available out there, Facebook is one of the most addictive sites on the Internet. People get hooked on applications and games like Farmville, Mafia Wars, etc. Many schools report that the average grade of students has gone down and the main cause is social networking sites. People may end up losing jobs if they are caught socializing during work hours, when instead they should have been working.
3．Loads of Unwanted Information:
If you are one of those who has a few genuine friends and those friends use a lot of applications; features like live feed will keep you updated on which applications they are using and their other activities. Thus you could be the subject of a lot of unwanted information. Although there are options to turn off these updates, this can get irritating in the long run.
4．The Bad Impact on Career Life and Personal Life:
People add their colleagues, family and friends to their friends' list. At some point, a bad comment about any of their family members, friends or colleagues at work could lead to a break in the relationship as any comment made by you is always available on your updates. A little spying on your activities will show others what you were recently doing and will also tell them what you think about them. The is one of the really bad things about Facebook and it can easily lead to misunderstandings.
The last straw of your privacy. Facebook places lets your friends know where you are and what you are doing. What's more, you will be spammed by others' updates too, on their whereabout which can be very disturbing. So if you want to have your coffee in peace, make sure that your Facebook privacy settings are as per your requirements.
With so much of your private information available in your Facebook account, it's easy for scam artists and hackers to use this information to target your other accounts—such as, email, banking, and PayPal.
No matter how secure a website is, hackers always find a way around so they can try to spread worms and viruses via the website. Since news spreads very fast on Facebook, a click on an unknown link is all that is needed to spread the virus to your friends, their friends and so on. It is always good to be careful before clicking links and following them.
8．Trouble Deleting Your Facebook Account:
Until 2007 Facebook never deleted information of a user when one deleted their Facebook account. It was more like suspending an account, which meant, one can get their account and all the information back anytime if they decided to join Facebook again. In 2008, Facebook introduced an option to delete the account. Even today, one has to be sure not to just deactivate their account but also check other preferences to make sure that your account is deleted for sure.
Facebook is literally making itself the center of all business advertisements, thanks to its huge fan base. This is affecting many other small companies and startups that have no other choice but to link themselves to Facebook to market their products. Even startups force themselves to join Facebook to promote their products.
In the year of 2009, Facebook was the most visited site on the Internet. People spend a lot of time interacting with others and checking on what other people are doing, and sometimes they ignore themselves. This can lead to various health issues like headaches, backaches, eye strain and a long list of other maladies.
Protect yourself by using proper privacy settings, and don't set your Facebook password and email password to be the same. There are real gifts, real games, and real people out there. Interact with them in real life and use Facebook as a tool to keep in touch with people, but not as a replacement for doing so.
Facebook Safety Tips to Stop Social Networking Hangovers
Facebook safety has a direct correlation to your business’s bottom line.
Facebook, and social networking sites in general, are in an awkward stage between infancy and adulthood – mature in some ways, helpless in others. On the darker side of sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, scammers and identity thieves are drooling at the sight of this unchecked data playground. In contrast, most social networkers are addicted to all of the friendships they are creating and renewing.
There is no denying that Facebook and other social networking sites have a very luring appeal. You can sit in the comfort of your own home and suddenly have a thriving social life. You can look up old friends, make new ones, build business relationships and create a profile for yourself that highlights only your talents and adventures while conveniently leaving out all your flaws and troubles. It is easy to see why Facebook has acquired over 200 million users worldwide in just over five years. Which is why Facebook safety is still so immature: Facebook’s interface and functionality has grown faster than security can keep up.
Unfortunately, most people dive head first into this world of social connectedness without thinking through the ramifications of all the personal information that is now traveling at warp speed through cyberspace. It’s like being served a delicious new drink at a party, one that you can’t possibly resist because it is so fun and tempting and EVERYONE is having one. The downside? Nobody is thinking about the information hangover that comes from over-indulgence: what you put on the Internet STAYS on the internet, forever. And sometimes it shows up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, in the hands of a prospective employer or your boss’s inbox. All of the personal information that is being posted on profiles — names, birth dates, kids’ names, photographs, pet’s names (and other password reminders), addresses, opinions on your company, your friends and your enemies — all of it serves as a one-stop shop for identity thieves. It’s all right there in one neat little package and all a scammer has to do to access it is become your “friend”.
Follow these Five Facebook Safety Tips and save yourself the trouble…
5 Facebook Safety Tips
Facebook Safety Tip #1:
If they’re not your friend, don’t pretend. Don’t accept friend requests unless you absolutely know who they are and that you would associate with them in person, just like real friends.
Facebook Safety Tip #2:
Post only what you want made public. Be cautious about the personal information that you post on any social media site, as there is every chance in the world that it will spread beyond your original submission. It may be fun to think that an old flame can contact you, but now scammers and thieves are clambering to access that personal information as well.
Facebook Safety Tip #3:
Manage your privacy settings. Sixty percent of social network users are unaware of their default privacy settings. Facebook actually does a good job of explaining how to lock your privacy down (even if they don’t set up your account with good privacy settings by default). To make it easy for you, follow these steps:
3. Now it is time to customize your Facebook Privacy Settings so that only information you want shared, IS shared. This simple step will reduce your risk of identity theft dramatically.
Facebook Safety Tip #4:
Keep Google Out. Unless you want all of your personal information indexed by Google and other search engines, restrict your profile so that it is not visible to these data-mining experts.
Facebook Safety Tip #5:
Don’t unthinkingly respond to Friends in Distress. If you receive a post requesting money to help a friend out, do the smart thing and call them in person. Friend in Distress schemes are when a thief takes over someone else’s account and then makes a plea for financial help to all of your friends (who think that the post is coming from you). As with all matters of identity, verify the source.
Following these 5 Facebook Safety tips are a great way to prevent an information-sharing hangover.
7 Things to Stop Doing Now on Facebook
by Consumer Reports Magazine
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
1．Using a Weak Password
Avoid simple names or words you can find in a dictionary, even with numbers tacked on the end. Instead, mix upper- and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols. A password should have at least eight characters. One good technique is to insert numbers or symbols in the middle of a word, such as this variant on the word "houses": hO27usEs!
2．Leaving Your Full Birth Date in Your Profile
It's an ideal target for identity thieves, who could use it to obtain more information about you and potentially gain access to your bank or credit card account. If you've already entered a birth date, go to your profile page and click on the Info tab, then on Edit Information. Under the Basic Information section, choose to show only the month and day or no birthday at all.
3．Overlooking Useful Privacy Controls
For almost everything in your Facebook profile, you can limit access to only your friends, friends of friends, or yourself. Restrict access to photos, birth date, religious views, and family information, among other things. You can give only certain people or groups access to items such as photos, or block particular people from seeing them. Consider leaving out contact info, such as phone number and address, since you probably don't want anyone to have access to that information anyway.
4．Posting Your Child's Name in a Caption
Don't use a child's name in photo tags or captions. If someone else does, delete it by clicking on Remove Tag. If your child isn't on Facebook and someone includes his or her name in a caption, ask that person to remove the name.
5．Mentioning That You'll Be Away From Home
That's like putting a "no one's home" sign on your door. Wait until you get home to tell everyone how awesome your vacation was and be vague about the date of any trip.
6．Letting Search Engines Find You
To help prevent strangers from accessing your page, go to the Search section of Facebook's privacy controls and select Only Friends for Facebook search results. Be sure the box for public search results isn't checked.
7．Permitting Youngsters to Use Facebook Unsupervised
Facebook limits its members to ages 13 and over, but children younger than that do use it. If you have a young child or teenager on Facebook, the best way to provide oversight is to become one of their online friends. Use your e-mail address as the contact for their account so that you receive their notifications and monitor their activities. "What they think is nothing can actually be pretty serious," says Charles Pavelites, a supervisory special agent at the Internet Crime Complaint Center. For example, a child who posts the comment "Mom will be home soon, I need to do the dishes" every day at the same time is revealing too much about the parents' regular comings and goings.
6 Things You Should Never Do on Twitter or Facebook
by Elaine Pofeldt | Jul 23, 2009
Since the unspoken rules of many social-networking sites evolve daily, it’s all too easy to commit online gaffes and sabotage your career-advancement goals. Here are six common online missteps to avoid.
1. Don’t be a job-search bore
Few people would walk into a professional meeting and ask for job leads, but many seasoned professionals commit the online version of this faux pas regularly. No matter how well you know contacts — or how panicked you are about unemployment — never mention a job hunt in an initial note to anyone on a social-networking site. “You’ve got to think of all the people who are looking for jobs right now — they’re probably being overwhelmed,” says Randy Hain, managing partner of Bell Oaks Executive Search in Atlanta. Instead, offer some praise or acknowledgement or, even better, some well-thought-out help or advice with no strings attached.
2. Don’t be too stiff
While you don’t want to share too much, leaving all personal information out of your profiles to protect your privacy can put you in the same league as colleagues who show up for casual Friday in a business suit. A few well-chosen items about your interests or charitable activities can make it easier for other like-minded folks on a site — including potential employers — to strike up a conversation. “If you just put your resume on LinkedIn, you’ll be like 500 other people who share the same skill set,” says Hain.
Antoine Dubeauclard, president of the Web-development company MediaG in Troy, Mich., says his company routinely researches potential hires on social-networking sites to figure out what type of projects would be a good fit for them. If he found from a person’s Facebook page that a candidate was really interested in music, for example, he might try to see if he could have them work with music-industry clients. “We want to get to know them,” Dubeauclard says. “What are the things that get them really excited? When we can dovetail, that makes them much happier.”
3. Don’t remain invisible
Put up a photo, even if you haven’t lost that 30 pounds or tried Botox. It makes the process a little more human and warm. And if someone is going to discriminate against you because of how you look, you probably don’t want to work with them anyway.
4. Don’t market yourself on anyone’s Facebook page — or even look like you’re trying to
“Some people really cross the line,” says Matthew Fraser, a senior research fellow at INSEAD and co-author of Throwing Sheep in the Boardroom: How Online Social Networking Will Transform Your Life, Work, and World. “As soon as you accept an offer to be their friend, they’ll write a note on your wall: ‘I’m Bill Jones. I’m a life coach. I help people solve their problems.’ You realize someone is using your personal space as a billboard for their business, and it’s irritating.”
5. Don’t goof around
“I get a lot of people poking me on Facebook and sending me goofy stuff,” says Sharon Rich, founder of outplacement consulting and coaching firm Leadership Incorporated. “If I’m working on building a business relationship with them, I’ll respond and say thank you. But privately I find that I think of the person as being less than professional.” It’s better to just stick to direct messages on Facebook with your professional contacts.
6. Don’t let your networking end online
Many people rack up new connections on sites like LinkedIn without ever solidifying the relationships they’ve started there. Try to set up an in-person meeting when you can, or perhaps even arrange a “virtual coffee,” where you both chat by phone over a cup of coffee at your desks, advises Rich. “Once you’re in a real relationship with someone, you find out who they are and how they’re doing,” Rich says. “And when you help them, they’ll try to help you back.”
6 Things You Should Never Reveal on Facebook
by Kathy Kristof
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
The whole social networking phenomenon has millions of Americans sharing their photos, favorite songs and details about their class reunions on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and dozens of similar sites. But there are a handful of personal details that you should never say if you don't want criminals — cyber or otherwise — to rob you blind, according to Beth Givens, executive director of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse.
The folks at Insure.com also say that ill-advised Facebook postings increasingly can get your insurance cancelled or cause you to pay dramatically more for everything from auto to life insurance coverage. By now almost everybody knows that those drunken party photos could cost you a job, too.
You can certainly enjoy networking and sharing photos, but you should know that sharing some information puts you at risk. What should you never say on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site?
1．Your Birth Date and Place
Sure, you can say what day you were born, but if you provide the year and where you were born too, you've just given identity thieves a key to stealing your financial life, said Givens. A study done by Carnegie Mellon showed that a date and place of birth could be used to predict most — and sometimes all — of the numbers in your Social Security number, she said.
There may be a better way to say "Rob me, please" than posting something along the lines of: "Count-down to Maui! Two days and Ritz Carlton, here we come!" on Twitter. But it's hard to think of one. Post the photos on Facebook when you return, if you like. But don't invite criminals in by telling them specifically when you'll be gone.
Do I have to elaborate? A study recently released by the Ponemon Institute found that users of Social Media sites were at greater risk of physical and identity theft because of the information they were sharing. Some 40% listed their home address on the sites; 65% didn't even attempt to block out strangers with privacy settings. And 60% said they weren't confident that their "friends" were really just people they know.
You may hate your job; lie on your taxes; or be a recreational user of illicit drugs, but this is no place to confess. Employers commonly peruse social networking sites to determine who to hire — and, sometimes, who to fire. Need proof? In just the past few weeks, an emergency dispatcher was fired in Wisconsin for revealing drug use; a waitress got canned for complaining about customers and the Pittsburgh Pirate's mascot was dumped for bashing the team on Facebook. One study done last year estimated that 8% of companies fired someone for "misuse" of social media.
If you've got online accounts, you've probably answered a dozen different security questions, telling your bank or brokerage firm your Mom's maiden name; the church you were married in; or the name of your favorite song. Got that same stuff on the information page of your Facebook profile? You're giving crooks an easy way to guess your passwords.
You take your classic Camaro out for street racing, soar above the hills in a hang glider, or smoke like a chimney? Insurers are increasingly turning to the web to figure out whether their applicants and customers are putting their lives or property at risk, according to Insure.com. So far, there's no efficient way to collect the data, so cancellations and rate hikes are rare. But the technology is fast evolving, according to a paper written by Celent, a financial services research and consulting firm.
6 Career-Killing Facebook Mistakes
by Erin Joyce, Managing Editor
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
With more than 400 million active visitors, Facebook is arguably the most popular social networking site out there. And while the site is known for the casual social aspect, many users also use it as a professional networking tool. With that kind of reach, Facebook can be a valuable tool for connecting to former and current colleagues, clients and potential employers. In fact, surveys suggest that approximately 30% of employers are using Facebook to screen potential employees — even more than those who check LinkedIn, a strictly professional social networking site. Don't make these Facebook faux-pas — they might cost you a great opportunity.
1. Inappropriate Pictures
It may go without saying, but prospective employers or clients don't want to see pictures of you chugging a bottle of wine or dressed up for a night at the bar. Beyond the pictures you wouldn't want your grandparents to see, seemingly innocent pictures of your personal life will likely not help to support the persona you want to present in your professional life.
2. Complaining About Your Current Job
You've no doubt done this at least once. It could be a full note about how much you hate your office, or how incompetent your boss is, or it could be as innocent as a status update about how your coworker always shows up late. While everyone complains about work sometimes, doing so in a public forum where it can be found by others is not the best career move. Though it may seem innocent, it's not the kind of impression that sits well with a potential boss.
3. Posting Conflicting Information to Your Resume
If you say on your resume that your degree is from Harvard, but your Facebook profile says you went to UCLA, you're likely to be immediately cut from the interview list. Even if the conflict doesn't leave you looking better on your resume, disparities will make you look at worst like a liar, and at best careless.
4. Statuses You Wouldn't Want Your Boss to See
Everyone should know to avoid statuses like "Tom plans to call in sick tomorrow so he can get drunk on a Wednesday. Who cares that my big work project isn't done?" But you should also be aware of less flamboyant statuses like "Sarah is watching the gold medal hockey game online at her desk". Statuses that imply you are unreliable, deceitful, and basically anything that doesn't make you look as professional as you'd like, can seriously undermine your chances at landing that new job.
5. Not Understanding Your Security Settings
The security settings on Facebook have come a long way since the site started. It is now possible to customize lists of friends and decide what each list can and cannot see. However, many people do not fully understand these settings, or don't bother to check who has access to what. If you are going to use Facebook professionally, and even if you aren't, make sure you take the time to go through your privacy options. At the very least, your profile should be set so that people who are not your friend cannot see any of your pictures or information.
6. Losing by Association
You can't control what your friends post to your profile (although you can remove it once you see it), nor what they post to their own profiles or to those of mutual friends. If a potential client or employer sees those Friday night pictures your friend has tagged you in where he is falling down drunk, it reflects poorly on you, even if the picture of you is completely innocent. It's unfortunate, but we do judge others by the company they keep, at least to some extent. Take a look at everything connected to your profile, and keep an eye out for anything you wouldn't want to show your mother.
Facebook Can Help You Get Hired … or Fired
The best advice is to lock down your personal profile so that only friends you approve can see anything on that profile. Then, create a second, public profile on Facebook purely for professional use. This profile functions like an online resume, and should only contain information you'd be comfortable telling your potential employer face to face. Having a social networking profile is a good thing — it presents you as technologically and professionally savvy. Just make sure your profile is helping to present your best side — not the side that got drunk at your buddy's New Year's party.
Burglars Picked Houses Based on Facebook Updates
by Nick Bilton
Monday, September 13, 2010
If you plan to log into your Facebook account and announce to the world that you're heading to the beach for the weekend, you might want to append the status update with a warning that your home is under 24-hour surveillance, you have a 140-pound Rottweiler who hasn't eaten in a week and that you own a really good alarm system.
If you don't, you personal belongings could be fodder for some tech-savvy burglars.
According to New Hampshire's WMUR Channel 9 News, three local men, Mario Rojas, Leonardo Barroso and Victor Rodriguez, have burglarized more than 18 homes in the Nashua area of New Hampshire simply by checking status updates on Facebook and then pillaging houses of victims who announced on the social network that they were not home.
Police told the news outlet that they recovered between $100,000 and $200,000 worth of stolen property as a result of the investigation.
According to local police, investigators tracked down the burglars by listeningd for the sound of a specific kind of fireworks stolen from a home. When they heard it, they apprehended the suspects and their loot.
A Web site called Please Rob Me had noted when people informed the world they weren't home by their status updates and check-ins on some location-based social networks. But the site has since shut down, noting that the site's founders are "satisfied with the attention we've gotten for an issue that we deeply care about."
Ron Dickerson, captain of Nashua's Police Department, told the local news that people need to "Be careful of what you post on these social networking sites."
Stolen: True Tales of Identity Theft
by Allie Johnson
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Learn how these victims worked to restore their good names and credit.
Identity theft happens when you least expect it -- and it's often committed by the people you least suspect. The thief could be someone you trusted implicitly, such as your ex-girlfriend, or someone who has no qualms about living the high life on your tab.
More than 11 million U.S. adults became ID theft victims in 2009, according to a survey by Javelin Strategy & Research. Victims are fighting back, though, by filing police reports and helping to get these criminals arrested, according to the survey.
These true tales of identity theft attest to the frustration and heartache this type of crime can cause, as well as how these victims worked to restore their good names and credit.
ID Theft Victim: Bogdan Vovk
How he discovered the theft: He got a card from a jewelry store thanking him for his purchase of a Rolex watch and a diamond ring, neither of which he'd bought.
The crime: The thief posed as Vovk and went on a spending spree. He even rented an apartment and filled it with rented furniture and electronics, which he later stole. In all, he charged up more than $30,000.
The aftermath: Vovk called retailers and got the phone number the thief had provided when applying for credit. Vovk says he called and identified himself: "This is the real Bogdan Vovk." The thief replied, "No, you're not. I am," and hung up, Vovk says. Vovk then exchanged text messages with the thief, who claimed he bought Vovk's identity on the black market.
Outcome: Police arrested the thief, who pleaded guilty to identity theft and was sentenced to five years in prison. Vovk spent about 160 hours on the phone with creditors, amassed a file 8 inches thick and got every black mark erased from his credit, except for about $4,000 the thief charged at a furniture rental store. His credit score -- which he says used to be 780 -- has dropped to the 500s.
Lesson learned: If you're an identity theft victim, be proactive, get as much information as possible and turn it over to authorities. "I didn't want somebody else using what I've worked so hard to build -- it's my identity, my credit report," Vovk says. "I didn't want somebody else living my life. I wanted to put an end to it right away."
ID Theft Victim: Don Redinius
How he discovered the theft: After a break-up, he moved, filed a change of address form at the post office and began receiving credit card statements his ex had been intercepting when they lived together.
What the thief did: She used his Bank of America and Citi credit cards to pay for spa facials, massages and even a Caribbean cruise -- racking up more than $68,000 in debt. She also intercepted a blank check from a financial services company, opened the line of credit in Redinius' name, forged his signature and sent the $6,000 to her family in Greece.
The aftermath: Redinius filed several police reports, alerted the Federal Trade Commission and wrote a letter to the Arizona attorney general. Redinius estimates that he has spent at least 300 hours on the phone with creditors. He has resolved two of the accounts and is still working on the third.
Outcome: After several years, the thief has not been prosecuted. "It's a white-collar crime, not very exciting," to police, Redinius says. "They don't fly helicopters over the house where the ID theft occurred or go after the thief in a high-speed chase -- yet it's a very significant problem." Because financial problems can precede identity theft, as was the case with his ex, Redinius wrote a personal finance book, "The New Era of Financial Success."
Lesson learned: "Don't be so trusting of people, especially as it relates to financial things," Redinius says. "My financial information used to be more open around people I thought I could trust. In fact, I think the way she got my credit card number for Citibank was, I remember throwing that stuff in a dresser drawer. Now I'm much more careful."
ID Theft Victim: Jessica Guberman
How she discovered the theft: She was getting ready to go on a camping trip in Vermont with her husband when an investigator from her local police department knocked on her door and asked to question her about an ID theft ring.
What the thief did: The thief or thieves opened multiple credit cards in Guberman's name and used them to buy more than $14,000 worth of clothes and expensive jewelry. "They bought a lot of engagement rings and Ralph Lauren clothes," Guberman says. A year later, they hacked into her bank account and stole $17,000 -- which she discovered on her birthday when she went to pay for a massage and her debit card was declined. When she got home, her husband told her he'd tried to buy her flowers, but his card had been declined, too. There was 10 cents left in the account.
The aftermath: Guberman's once-excellent credit score crashed. "I had 11 or 12 credit cards, they were all maxed out. I had never made a payment, and they were all in collections," she says. She made hundreds of phone calls to resolve the problem and restore her good credit. She put a seven-year fraud alert and a freeze on her credit report.
Outcome: Police never learned who was behind the identity theft or how the thief got Guberman's information, but they told her there were about a dozen other victims in her area. Guberman never got her money back from the bank.
Lesson learned: Consider a security freeze, which is available to anyone and prevents credit bureaus from providing your credit report to new lenders without your approval. "It's a minor inconvenience, but it's worth it," Guberman says.
4 Identity Theft Myths
Identity theft experts say what we don't know can hurt us. Here are some common misconceptions.
Myth #1: Identity theft always involves credit cards. Credit card fraud is the No. 1 category of identity theft reported to the Federal Trade Commission, but experts say a stolen identity can be used to get a job, obtain prescription drugs, have medical procedures or even get away with a crime. For example, Neal O'Farrell, executive director of the Identity Theft Council, helped a victim who went to buy cold medicine at a drug store and learned a criminal had been using his identity to do the same -- probably to make meth.
Myth #2: You don't have to worry about ID theft if you have bad credit. "Identity theft does happen to people who have bad credit or no credit," says personal security and identity theft expert Robert Siciliano. "All you need to become a victim of identity theft is a Social Security number." Sometimes a thief doesn't even need that. O'Farrell helped an elderly couple whose names and address had been plucked from a phone book and printed on fake checks with a fake bank account number.
Myth #3: Using a credit monitoring service will prevent you from becoming an ID theft victim. "Because of all the hype around these services, a lot of consumers think they're safe, but nothing can make you completely safe," says Linda Foley, an identity theft victim and founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center. "A credit monitoring service won't show you if someone is using your existing credit card or if they've gotten speeding tickets in your name."
Myth #4: If you become a victim, you need to hire a lawyer. "Most attorneys do not know how to take care of identity theft unless this is an area they specialize in," Foley says. "You don't usually need an attorney unless something goes really bad and you have a credit reporting agency stepping all over your rights."
Social networking security and safety tips
Take precautions on social networking sitesSocial networking sites enable people to post information about themselves and communicate with others around the world using forums, interest groups, blogs, chat rooms, email, and instant messaging. While you can make new friends through social networking sites, you may also be exposed to embarrassing situations and people who have bad intentions, such as hackers, identity thieves, con artists, and predators.
Protect yourself by taking some common-sense precautions.
● Guard your financial and other sensitive information. Never provide or post your Social Security number, address, phone number, bank account or credit card numbers, or other personal information that could be used by criminals.
● Picture social networking sites as billboards in cyberspace. Police, college admissions personnel, employers, stalkers, con artists, nosy neighbors – anyone can see what you post. Don’t disclose anything about yourself, your friends, or family members that you wouldn’t want to be made public. And remember that once information appears on a Web site, it can never be completely erased. Even if it’s modified or deleted, older versions may exist on others’ computers. Some social networking sites allow users to restrict access to certain people. Understand how the site works and what privacy choices you may have.
● Be cautious about meeting your new cyber friends in person. After all, it’s hard to judge people by photos or information they post about themselves. If you decide to meet someone in person, do so during the day in a public place, and ask for information that you can verify, such as the person’s place of employment.
● Think twice before clicking on links or downloading attachments in emails. They may contain viruses or spyware that could damage your computer or steal your personal information – including your online passwords and account numbers. Some messages may “spoof,” or copy the email addresses of friends to fool you into thinking that they’re from them. Don’t click on links or download attachments in emails from strangers, and if you get an unexpected message from someone whose address you recognize, check with them directly before clicking on links or attachments.
● Protect your computer. A spam filter can help reduce the number of unwanted emails you get. Anti-virus software, which scans incoming messages for troublesome files, and anti-spyware software, which looks for programs that have been installed on your computer and track your online activities without your knowledge, can protect you from online identity theft. Firewalls prevent hackers and unauthorized communications from entering your computer – which is especially important if you have a broadband connection because your computer is open to the Internet whenever it’s turned on. Look for programs that offer automatic updates and take advantage of free patches that manufacturers offer to fix newly discovered problems. Go to www.staysafeonline.org or www.onguardonline.gov to learn more about how to keep your computer secure.
● Beware of con artists. Criminals scan social networking sites to find potential victims for all sorts of scams, from phony lotteries to bogus employment and business opportunities to investment fraud. In some cases they falsely befriend people and then ask for money for medical expenses or other emergencies, or to come to the United States from another country. Go to www.fraud.org to learn more about how to recognize different types of Internet fraud.
Online Safety on MySpace and Other Social Networking Sites
Safety Tips for Social Networking
Social Networks or Online Communities have become an integral part of the lives of many teenagers today. There are some real dangers involved, as there are in off-line aspects of a young person’s life. But rather than attempting to deny access and participation in this form of online socializing, we suggest that with some common sense, open, calm dialogue, and simple guidelines, participation in an online community can be a safe and enriching experience. Here are our tips for making this happen (More information about social networking is available by scrolling down this page.):
1. We recommend a minimum age of 16 for participation in on online community. Generally, children younger than 16 are not mature enough to handle the opportunities and challenges of social networking.
2. Begin an open conversation about your teens' social networking experience. Try to establish a context for discussion that is not combative or accusing.
3. Create your own account on MySpace or another social network. Spend some time browsing the network's site. This will give you familiarity with the world that is so essential to your teen(s) and their friends and will facilitate future conversations.
4. If your child has an account, require that they show it to you. Periodically monitor/read it.
5. Set the expectation that only people they know in real life should be on their "friends" list.
6. Know your children's passwords, screen names and account information. This will enable you to view their pages even if they set their profile to "private". (Private profiles are accounts that can only be viewed by others given explicit permission to view it. This is a double-edged sword, in that it means strangers [like sexual predators] don't have an easy way to learn about or harass the private account owner. However, it also means that without being granted access, parents and other adults in positions of authority or care-giving cannot view the online activity of the owner either.)
7. Remove online privileges if it becomes a problem. This is only as a last resort and keep it mind that a young person can establish an account and access it school, the library, or a friend's house. Clearly, open dialog and trust is best.
8. As another last resort, consider installing keystroke capturing software on your family computer from www.getnetwise.org. Again, this won't deal with your child's using computers away from home.
9. Talk with other parents, with teachers, and other adults who work with kids. Also, check out the links to other helpful websites below.
1. Talk with your parents. Let them learn and understand the role of social networking in your life.
2. Never post anything you wouldn't want your parents, teachers, or future employers to see.
3. Never post personal information (phone number, E-mail or address) on the web. The same applies for your friends' information. Be aware that information you post could put you at risk of victimization
4. Never meet with anyone you first “met” online and tell your parent if anyone requests a meeting.
5. Only add people as friends if you know then in real life. Set privacy settings so that you have to approve people to be added as a friend.
6. Include your parents and other trusted adults as friends. If your parents do not have an account, give them access to your profile.
What is Social Networking ?
Social Networking is a term used to describe the fairly recent breed of websites, also referred to as online communities. These sites generally enable their subscribers to post a journal and various forms of media content, to generate and maintain relationships with other participants, and to engage in discussions around common interests with others. Some of the most popular social networks are in the U.S. are MySpace, Xanda, LiveJournal, BlackPlanet, MiGente, AsianAvenue, Bolt, Hi5, Facebook, and Friendster.
These sites are immensely popular with teens and young adults and have become an integral part of their lives, much like television was for their parents. Social networks or online communities offer great opportunities for self-expression, relational support, new experiences, helpful information and just plain fun.
What are risks?
Objectionable Content: On many online communities, users post material that is not appropriate for children or that many parents would find objectionable. This can include obscene language, racist or violent text or images, and a wide range of sexual content including pornography.
Overexposure: Parents need to be concerned not only with what their children might see and hear, but also what they may present. Teens can make unwise decisions about what they post online. This includes posting pictures of himself or herself or of friends in a sexually provocative or incriminating manner; publishing personal information that sexual predators could use to learn more about a child or their friends; or bragging about exploits (real or made-up) or making threatening and harassing remarks that could have negative consequences.
Contact with predators: Much publicity has been generated around sexual predators (mainly adults) looking for minors to exploit. There are such individuals who frequent online communities that teens use. Sometimes, these adults will pretend to be teens themselves, but often they will be quite clear about their age and intent.
Contact with other inappropriate adults and businesses: Various segments of the sex industry (legal and otherwise) have a presence on social networking sites, often to recruit customers and workers. Minors should not have direct contact with such sex professionals and organizations, but it does happen. In some cases, teens could become victims of sex-trafficking or be persuaded to provide sexually explicit pictures or video for pay.
Social Networking Sites: Safety Tips for Tweens and Teens
You’ve probably learned a long list of important safety and privacy lessons already: Look both ways before crossing the street; buckle up; hide your diary where your nosy brother can’t find it; don’t talk to strangers.
The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, is urging kids to add one more lesson to the list: Don’t post information about yourself online that you don’t want the whole world to know. The Internet is the world’s biggest information exchange: many more people could see your information than you intend, including your parents, your teachers, your employer, the police — and strangers, some of whom could be dangerous.
Social networking sites have added a new factor to the “friends of friends” equation. By providing information about yourself and using blogs, chat rooms, email, or instant messaging, you can communicate, either within a limited community, or with the world at large. But while the sites can increase your circle of friends, they also can increase your exposure to people who have less-than-friendly intentions. You’ve heard the stories about people who were stalked by someone they met online, had their identity stolen, or had their computer hacked.
Your Safety’s at Stake
The FTC suggests these tips for socializing safely online:
● Think about how different sites work before deciding to join a site. Some sites will allow only a defined community of users to access posted content; others allow anyone and everyone to view postings.
● Think about keeping some control over the information you post. Consider restricting access to your page to a select group of people, for example, your friends from school, your club, your team, your community groups, or your family.
● Keep your information to yourself. Don’t post your full name, Social Security number, address, phone number, or bank and credit card account numbers — and don’t post other people’s information, either. Be cautious about posting information that could be used to identify you or locate you offline. This could include the name of your school, sports team, clubs, and where you work or hang out.
● Make sure your screen name doesn’t say too much about you. Don’t use your name, your age, or your hometown. Even if you think your screen name makes you anonymous, it doesn’t take a genius to combine clues to figure out who you are and where you can be found.
● Post only information that you are comfortable with others seeing — and knowing — about you. Many people can see your page, including your parents, your teachers, the police, the college you might want to apply to next year, or the job you might want to apply for in five years.
● Remember that once you post information online, you can’t take it back. Even if you delete the information from a site, older versions exist on other people’s computers.
● Consider not posting your photo. It can be altered and broadcast in ways you may not be happy about. If you do post one, ask yourself whether it’s one your mom would display in the living room.
● Flirting with strangers online could have serious consequences. Because some people lie about who they really are, you never really know who you’re dealing with.
● Be wary if a new online friend wants to meet you in person. Before you decide to meet someone, do your research: Ask whether any of your friends know the person, and see what background you can dig up through online search engines. If you decide to meet them, be smart about it: Meet in a public place, during the day, with friends you trust. Tell an adult or a responsible sibling where you’re going, and when you expect to be back.
● Trust your gut if you have suspicions. If you feel threatened by someone or uncomfortable because of something online, tell an adult you trust and report it to the police and the social networking site. You could end up preventing someone else from becoming a victim.
For More Information
To learn more about staying safe online, visit the following organizations:
Federal Trade Commission — www.OnGuardOnline.gov
The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
The FTC manages OnGuardOnline.gov, which provides practical tips from the federal government and the technology industry to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information.
GetNetWise — www.getnetwise.org
GetNetWise is a public service sponsored by Internet industry corporations and public interest organizations to help ensure that Internet users have safe, constructive, and educational or entertaining online experiences. The GetNetWise coalition wants Internet users to be just “one click away” from the resources they need to make informed decisions about their and their family’s use of the Internet.
Internet Keep Safe Coalition — www.iKeepSafe.org
iKeepSafe.org, home of Faux Paw the Techno Cat, is a coalition of 49 governors/first spouses, law enforcement, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and other associations dedicated to helping parents, educators, and caregivers by providing tools and guidelines to teach children the safe and healthy use of technology. The organization’s vision is to see generations of children worldwide grow up safely using technology and the Internet.
i-SAFE — www.i-safe.org
Founded in 1998 and endorsed by the U.S. Congress, i-SAFE is a non-profit foundation dedicated to protecting the online experiences of youth everywhere. i-SAFE incorporates classroom curriculum with dynamic community outreach to empower students, teachers, parents, law enforcement, and concerned adults to make the Internet a safer place. Join them today in the fight to safeguard children’s online experience.
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children — www.missingkids.com; www.netsmartz.org
NCMEC is a private, non-profit organization that helps prevent child abduction and sexual exploitation; helps find missing children; and assists victims of child abduction and sexual exploitation, their families, and the professionals who serve them.
National Crime Prevention Council — www.ncpc.org; www.mcgruff.org
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) is a private, nonprofit organization whose primary mission is to enable people to create safer and more caring communities by addressing the causes of crime and violence and reducing the opportunities for crime to occur. Among many crime prevention issues, NCPC addresses Internet Safety with kids and parents through www.mcgruff.org and public service advertising under the National Citizens’ Crime Prevention Campaign — symbolized by McGruff the Crime Dog® and his “Take A Bite Out Of Crime®.”
National Cyber Security Alliance — www.staysafeonline.org
NCSA is a non-profit organization that provides tools and resources to empower home users, small businesses, and schools, colleges, and universities to stay safe online. A public-private partnership, NCSA members include the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Trade Commission, and many private-sector corporations and organizations.
staysafe — www.staysafe.org
staysafe.org is an educational site intended to help consumers understand both the positive aspects of the Internet as well as how to manage a variety of safety and security issues that exist online.
Wired Safety — www.wiredsafety.org
WiredSafety.org is an Internet safety and help group. Comprised of unpaid volunteers around the world, WiredSafety.org provides education, assistance, and awareness on all aspects of cybercrime and abuse, privacy, security, and responsible technology use. It is also the parent group of Teenangels.org, FBI-trained teens and preteens who promote Internet safety.
The FTC works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and avoid them. To file a complaint or get free information on consumer issues, visit ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. Watch a new video, How to File a Complaint, at ftc.gov/video to learn more. The FTC enters consumer complaints into the Consumer Sentinel Network, a secure online database and investigative tool used by hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.