Social media use is growing, and it's likely that most members of any family, regardless of age, now communicate via these online resources. While this increased connectivity has brought many families together, the personal information users share on these networks could fall into the wrong hands. Victims of identity theft could see their good credit score* deteriorate, and in the short-term, these individuals could see higher interest rates on new credit, insurance policies and loans.
Despite the negative consequences, more than 80 percent of respondents in a recent study said they didn't take any steps to secure their credit protection online. Conducted by the Ponemon Institute in coordination with other organizations, the 2010 survey found consumers harbored a number of other potentially detrimental habits. One statistic indicated that only 35 percent of users specifically change their privacy settings. If you want to give yourself this kind of enhanced protection, there are some simple steps you can follow.
Change Privacy Settings on Facebook
Privacy settings are a way for social media sites to let users control the amount of information they want to allow others to see on their pages.
To set your privacy levels on Facebook:
- Sign into your account
- Click "Account" in the upper right-hand corner of the screen
- Select "Privacy Settings."
To custom edit a tab, select the "Edit Settings" button next to the category that needs to be modified.
Change Privacy Settings on Google+
Google+ allows users to share information with "circles," preselected groups of individuals. But, you can protect yourself against threats like identity theft if you share certain information sparingly. As with Facebook, altering your privacy settings is easy.
To modify your privacy settings on Google+:
- Log into your Gmail account
- Click on the small profile picture in the upper right hand corner of the screen
- Select account settings.
Change Privacy Settings on MySpace
MySpace allows users to modify a variety of settings in your account area.
To change your privacy settings on MySpace:
- Log into your account
- Under "Get Help," select "Privacy Settings"
- Make the necessary selections under other features.
Keep yourself in control of your own account. Make a point of deciding whether to allow certain types of information to be available to the public, friends or a custom variation.