PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Facebook has become the great connector.
“I do like Facebook because it allows me to stay connected with my family and friends out of state,” Crystal White of Bellevue said.
If only it would stop there, but there are so many others out there watching.
“Not only fraudsters and you know criminals such as those that might rob your house but you have child predators,” Michael Heiler with the FBI said.
So, vigilance is not an option.
“You might protect it from the general public, but someone else might be linked into their page and it not be protected,” Heiler said.
Therefore, there are some things you never want to put out there in the social networking world.
No. 1: Your Birth Date
Date of birth can be used in obtaining credit and running up a lot of bad debt in your name and it can happen even if you just put the date and not the year. For instance, one poster just put the date, but lists the high school and college graduation years, leaving the actual birth date to a matter of math. Another person’s birth date was given away by a greeting from a friend.
No. 2: Your Child’s Birth Date
That can also be used for obtaining credit, only it’s worse because while your child is rolling through the school years, it’s not likely anyone would check their name for a credit report.
“They go to get their first credit card, they can’t. They got to get their first ob, they go to get into school or whatever and that bad credit history is already there,” Heiler said.
No. 3: Travel Plans
Putting your travel plans online lets the world know you’re not home.
“And you leave and your house gets robbed because you’ve just told the entire world including criminals in your neighborhood that live around your area that you’re not going to be at your house,” Heiler pointed out.
No. 4: Your Address
Never put your address on Facebook. You might as well put a sign in the front yard: “Robbers and pedophiles welcome.”
“You tell them where you live, you tell them you’re away, they might even show up especially if you’re dealing with your child – you have your children’s pictures on it,” Heiler said.
No. 5: Your Mother’s Maiden Name
It’s commonly used in getting credit and it’s almost like a password to your financial life.
Make sure you set your Facebook protections to be as protective as possible and if your Facebook password is the same you use for your bank or financial institution, change it. It’s a short leap from captured information to emptying your bank accounts. You don’t want to make it easier by using the same password.