Thursday, October 20, 2011

6 Things You Should Never Disclose on Facebook

Don't we all love Facebook? It has become a tremendous place to publish all kinds of information about ourselves.  But use caution; there are some things you should never disclose on Facebook.

1. Your birthday
Having the month and day of your birthday is not so bad, but do not include the year.  That gives identity thieves a golden piece of information usable to impersonate you.  Just today, my health insurance company used my full date of birth to confirm my identity when I called to clarify a bill.  Publish your month and day, but leave off the year.

  • Click on your Wall.
  • Near the top, click the Edit Profile button.
  • In the Birthday section, select Show only month and day in my profile.
  • As added security, click the drop-down on the right end of the Birthday section and limit your birthday information to your friends.  This way, only your Facebook friends can see your birthday.
2. Your vacation plans
I love checking-in with Facebook as much as the next person.  But checking in during a Hawaiian vacation when you live in Idaho or complaining about your red-eye flight to Europe is a way of saying, "Hey, I'm not home! Come steal from my house."  Post as many photos and enviable updates as you like when you get home.  Speaking of home...

3. Your home address
You make yourself more prone to identity theft and a potentially more vulnerable theft target.

4. Confessionals
Remember, Facebook can be an open window to your entire life and it can be difficult to take stuff back once it appears on Facebook.  Your employer--or a potential employer--may be watching.  In other words, this can be a poor place to complain about your job or how you stuffed a pancake in the office paper shredder.

5. Password clues
Is your mother's maiden name on your Facebook account?  Is that the same question you use to reset your on-line banking password?  Watch out especially for the quiz-type games where you answer 31 questions about yourself.  Don't hand out password clues or answers to potential security questions.

6. Risky Behaviors
Insurers are turning to Facebook to evaluate your risk.  Bragging about your new car which went 120mph through downtown last night may not be your best move.

Be smart.  Facebook can be terribly public, so publish with care.

Adapted from this article: