What NOT to publish in Social Media sites.

The Social Media web sites are a pretty cool place to hang out whether you are sharing photos, resources, business contacts, family history, or about anything other service available now to share or collaborate information. Below are a few main data areas to beware of sharing with the public at large. This is common sense for a lot of people but for young people or new internet users this may not be as obvious. Please read about these higher risk share areas and beware.

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. {What this really means is that you can not create passwords the old way, you have to create and use passwords far more carefully than you think. I will explain password strategy in a later writing.}

Vacation plans. 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. {YA THINK!}
Home address. {You have to be kidding that I have to say this!} 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. {This is a good point. Hackers will attempt to “FRIEND” you so that you will give a little more private information to your friends. When accepting friends it would be a really good idea to look at who their friends are and even ask those friends about the friend you are accepting. Once someone is a friend you probably won’t think twice about giving them information that you probably would not give non-friends.}

Confessionals. 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 ALWAYS remember that ANYTHING you write in an e-mail message, text message, social web site MAY BE READ BY EVERYONE ON THE PLANET someday you might think twice about what you say and how you say it. In an era when simple curtsey is no longer trained by school or parents you must understand that you will still be held accountable for your actions and words by society at large. Just because you say, think or do something does not mean that it’s wise to publish it. }

Password clues. 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. {Passwords should be passcodes – phrases – and not just a word or a couple of numbers from your date of birth or anniversary. A great pass code is something like MaryHad68Lambs. Easy to remember, hard to break because you do not use familiar words or numbers.}

Risky behaviors. 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. {I can see a time when everything about you will be available to insurance companies, the government, your work by a company providing that type of information. It’s almost there now to a very high degree.}

Reprinted with comments from Money Watch (CBS)