Posted October 27, 2011 2:13 pm by with 11 comments

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Chances are you’re a pro at using Facebook. You have your Page optimized, ads targeted, and your privacy settings impenatrable. So why is it that I see so many glaring issues that could cause the average person to have their account life hacked?

I come across these 5 issues below every day. Any one of them could result in a someone nefariously hacking your account, stealing your identity, or even ransacking your home. If you have these covered, congrats, but please share them with your Facebook friends, because many of them are leaving themselves vulnerable.

1. Don’t Share Your Full Date of Birth

I still see a lot of Facebook users sharing their full date of birth. TURN IT OFF! There really is no reason why you should share you full date of birth with anyone interested. You’re making it one step easier for an identity thief to wreck your life. Besides, do you really want everyone to know how old you are? Head to your Profile Settings and turn it off! Friends will still see your birthday, just not the year you were born.

2. Don’t Share With Everyone

I personally only ever share my Facebook updates with those that are confirmed as my friends. While not foolproof, it does ensure that when I check in at a restaurant, or tell my friends I’m on vacation, I’m not broadcasting that to the entire world! Check to see if you are sharing your updates with just your friends or the entire world by looking for the drop-down option on your last update:

You can set your sharing option on a per post basis, or head to your Privacy Settings to change for all updates you post:

3. Don’t Friend Everyone

I’ve written many times that Facebook is not a popularity contest. Don’t add just anyone to your network, simply because they ask. Studies have shown that thieves and hackers set up fake profiles, just so they can try and infiltrate your network and steal information that is useful to them.

4. Don’t Click on Crap

While it may be tempting to click on a video that claims to show someone in their underwear or a man-eating spider, ask yourself two questions: is it likely to be real, and, do you really want to see it anyway? There are a lot of bogus posts made to Facebook and clicking on them could at best, make you look like an idiot, and at worst, breach your privacy.

5. Not All Emails are From Facebook

If you have email notifications switched on, be sure to double check their authenticity before clicking on them. Here’s an example of one that tried to phish for my login credentials.

It was not actually from and the email address it shows is not the one I use for Facebook. Two good reasons to mark it as spam!

We Want Your Facebook Security Tips!

There are many more threats, but I felt motivated to share these five with you. Please post this advice to Facebook and warn your friends, they’ll thank you for it! And also, please leave a comment with any other security tips you may have!

  • It can be difficult to find one’s way to the Facebook privacy settings; peeps can find them here:

    I have my default privacy set to just Friends, but when I clicked on the last couple of updates I put on Facebook, I saw that they were made to Public. Which shows that this “default” privacy setting only works with apps. Looks like we have to use the drop-down options for every single post 🙁

    • I have mine set to Friends as default and it stays that way. Strange that your experience is otherwise.

      • I see the same thing as Isha. Also if you want to change past posts to only friends, click on this link in your privacy settings also: Limit the Audience for Past Posts

        • Ah-ha, I see why that happens now. If you make any post public, then every post after it will default to public until you manually change it again.

        • Yeah, that would do it! You have to change it back afterwards. Thanks Jenny!

        • Isha

          Well, by jiminy! Thanks for those tips Jenny.

  • Isha

    PS Keep your birthday private until a few days beforehand (but still keep your year of birth private), then afterwards make it private again 😉

  • Megan

    Thanks! You’re right, there is no reason for me to have my birth year up there. It’s easy to forget that stuff, thanks for the reminder.

  • with this privacy update every time we discover a new thing & we forget something
    anyway thanks for sharing yes!

  • One thing I do is for all questionable e-mails — including those that look to be branded by Facebook — is mouse-over the ink to see what the destination URL really is under the fake visible link. This way I’m not taking the risk of clicking on anything that is not legit.