If you can’t go for more than a few minutes without updating your Facebook page, sending a tweet or checking out your favourite blogs, you’re in good company.
Research from Experian shows that we’re on the way to becoming a nation of social media addicts, with nearly a quarter of every hour spent online devoted to social networking and posting on forums .
This may seem like harmless fun but it could mean you’re putting your job, your reputation and even your identity on the line. These tips could help you to stay out of trouble.
Think before you write – and try not to post in anger
Foolish or offensive comments can have disastrous consequences even years later. The same applies to sharing candid photos – they might not seem so hilarious if they put off a prospective employer.
Use your privacy settings
Hide personal details, such as your full address and date of birth, and make sure only Friends can see your Facebook page. Check out anyone who wants to join your network before you accept.
Be careful what your share
Identity thieves could use details such as your full name, address, phone numbers and birthday to commit fraud in your name, so don’t give them a chance. Also think before posting holiday photos and other info that could show criminals you are away from home.
Protect your passwords
Never give them to other people, even close friends and family. If you use personal info for your passwords, such as your children’s and pets’ names and anniversaries, make sure you keep them to yourself too – you never know who may be looking.
Use a strong password
You may think today’s web users are savvier than ever, yet the most common passwords remain ‘password’ and ‘123456’ – which potentially makes those people much more vulnerable to online fraud. Try to use longer words with a mix of upper and lower case letters , with the odd number, special character – @£%^&* – or accent as well. It’s also best not to use the same password for all your accounts.
Look after your data
If personal information falls into the wrong hands, within minutes, the data can be used to access your accounts, and can be bought and sold in underground forums around the world. Help protect yourself with a 30-day trial of CreditExpert – the web monitoring service alerts you if your details are found online anywhere they shouldn’t be, while checking your credit report allows you to spot any suspicious items, such as new accounts you didn’t open, and help to stop trouble in its tracks.