Social Media Privacy: Taking Control of Your Data

Since October is Cyber Awareness Month, we are continuing to share various cyber and online safety tips to help keep Internet safety top of mind.

Social media makes it easy for you leave a trail of personal information that you may not want to share with advertisers, analytics companies or people other than your connections. Take charge of your  online privacy with these 6 tips from Hartford Steam experts.

#1: Things you should never share
Social networking means opening up and sharing information online with others, but to protect yourself from identity theft there are some things you should never share.

  • •Your social security number (even just the last 4 digits)
  • •Your birth date
  • •Home address
  • •Home phone number
  • •And, protect all of your passwords, PIN numbers, bank account and credit card information

#2: Customize privacy options
Do not simply accept the site’s default privacy settings. Check out the settings, configuration and privacy sections to see what options you have to limit who and what groups can see various aspects of your personal information.

Search is a new area where users are gaining control of what others are allowed to see. Some sites let you set limits on who can see search results about you. Whether you’ve just joined, or have been a user for a while, log onto your account and view and adjust your privacy settings.

#3: Choose your apps wisely
Some social media services offer apps—games, quizzes, etc. Use them wisely! In many cases, you agree to share personal information in exchange for access. Be sure to take a look at what information the app collects and how it will be used.

#4: Limit work history details
Putting your full resume online is risky. Identity thieves can use the information to fill out loan applications, guess a password security question or attempt to gain access into your company’s network. If you feel you need the added information to help you find a job, expand the details only during the job search. After you’ve secured a job, remove the detailed information. Leave highlights of your resume online to entice recruiters for future positions.

#5: Avoid accidentally sharing personal details
Try not to give too many details on what you are doing and where you are going. There are many features in social media sites that tell users where you are and what you are doing on any specific date and time. Like a Facebook Check In for example. Be aware of what information you put out there which others could use to piece together your habits and personal information.

#6: Search yourself
Search your name to see results. See what information is available, and then adjust your profile and settings to make sure you are only sharing what you want to. Should you find your name unexpectedly in locations you don’t frequent, it could indicate that someone else is using your identity online. Set up a search engine alert with your name, which emails you when your name is found in a new place online.

For information only. Not applicable to all situations

Original version of this article written by Monique Ferraro, Counsel Cyber Practice at Hartford Steam Boiler, can be found on their blog.       

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American Modern is a widely recognized specialty insurance leader that delivers products and services for residential property--like manufactured homes and specialty dwellings--and for consumers in the recreational market, including owners of boats, personal watercraft, classic cars, motorcycles, ATVs and snowmobiles. For more information, visit www.amig.com .
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