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How to Keep Personal Information Safe on Social Networks

Social networks let you share lots of personal details -- but some data shouldn't be out there. Follow some simple tips and keep yourself safe.


  • TIP: Follow this rule: only post what you'd share with your parents, boss, and partner.
  • Step 1: Even insurance companies are checking out customers and applicants on social networks. Keep risky or unhealthy behavior to yourself to avoid potential cancellations or rate hikes.
  • FACT: A 2009 survey found that 45 percent of employers use social networks to research job candidates.
  • Step 2: Be discreet with work-related or opinion-based status messages. And make sure any education or work information posted to your profile matches your resume, or you may risk a potential employer thinking you're dishonest.
  • TIP: If you want inspire travel envy, put up pictures when you return from your trip.
  • Step 3: Adding your birthday to your profile? Leave off the year and location, which can be used to figure out your social security number. Just the month and date are enough for contacts to know when it's your big day.
  • Step 4: Avoid posting your full home address, and keep the details of any events at your house restricted -- letting the world know where you live puts you at risk for strangers crashing your parties, stalking you, or worse!
  • Step 5: Make sure nothing on your profile matches your answers to online security questions used on other sites. The easier your information is to find, the greater the risk it'll end up in the wrong hands.

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