We’ve all seen things that should never be on Facebook, and the worst of them revolve around privacy and identity theft protection. It is important to remember that posts and responses to other posts are not private and can be accessed for a long time. Common sense and a little bit of caution go a long way toward keeping confidential information out of the hands of criminals, but common sense is not particularly common on Facebook.
5 Answers to Secret Questions
One of the common safeguards to our online security involves a secret question to verify a user’s identity. Whether it is your favorite color, first pet or the name of your high school, the answers to your secret question should not be posted. Instead, use a funny but untrue answer that you can remember to these security questions, or better yet, lie about all those things to confuse people. While you’re at it, don’t put your birth year on there either. Not only will friends not know how old you are, but potential ID thieves won’t know your full birthdate.
4 Vacation Plans
A great deal of risk is involved in announcing plans for a vacation, especially when the plans are for an extended period of time. Potential thieves can plan on a break-in while you are gone, knowing that nobody will be home to catch them. Even worse, all of those friends who owe you money can claim they stopped by to pay you during your vacation week, but you weren’t there.
3 Photos of Cash or Valuables
Posting photos of valuables can be an invitation to burglars or home invaders who are tempted by the loot they have seen. Avoid giving these unsavory characters any reason to target your belongings by keeping these posts off Facebook in the first place. The same is also true of your friends and neighbors, who will undoubtedly want a piece of the pie once they find out you have made it to the top.
2 User IDs or Account Numbers
Posts that contain user ID information or account numbers for any website or other account can be used in a variety of identity theft crimes. How are you going to explain that mail order Russian bride that your credit card paid for to your new girlfriend? This sort of thing can happen with any sites that store user information. Never let websites store credit card numbers for convenience. Instead, enter the card number each time.
1 Threats or Illegal Activity
Prosecutors can use Facebook posts as evidence when seeking an indictment or conviction for any number of crimes, from threats and possession charges to indecent exposure. Posting any sort of proof of having committed a crime is an easy way to get arrested, even if the post is supposedly private. Law enforcement officers routinely obtain subpoenas to examine the content of a suspect’s Facebook account, and that can be pretty embarrassing for people who post on Facebook.