This month I am focusing on Facebook and your privacy. People happily share their private information online without realising it is a goldmine for fraudsters.

On Facebook alone, the average user shares a dozen pieces of personal information ranging from a fairly innocent name/email combo, all the way to mothers maiden name and home address. Those bits of information in the wrong hands, can lead to all sorts of problems.

For example, “checking in” (where you show your location at a particular place at a certain time) has become the norm. These details can be available to anyone and can advertise the fact you are away from home.

So how do the fraudsters use this information? Someone could try accessing your email account by clicking the ‘Forgot password’ link. Depending on your email service they may ask for security questions like ‘which high school did you go to? Or, what is your pet’s name?’ Unfortunately, the most common identifying checks and answers are probably available on Facebook.
Once your email address is has been breached, hackers can use that to break into other services and go through, clicking ‘Reset Password’ on site after site, account after account – they have full access to your email, so there’s nothing stopping them from emptying your bank accounts – or worse.

Here are some simple steps you can take to secure your Facebook privacy:

• Preview your profile as others see it and review what should be visible to the Public.

• Consider only sharing partial details, like birth day and month, but not the year.

• Only ever ‘Friend’ people you know and trust.

• Be wary of duplicate or ‘odd’ friend activity – hackers will often clone or hack a friend’s profile and initiate an urgent and uncharacteristic request for money.

• Update your privacy settings for your past activity too.

• Set default future sharing to ‘friends only’

For regular safety hints and tips like/follow my Facebook page:

Safe ‘Putering.