internet_safety_photo Would you put your address on the internet for everyone to see? Would you let anyone who asked into your home? Probably not! But did you know that you may be doing these things already…without knowing it? As social media continues changing and growing, it creates more and more opportunities for your information to be compromised.

Recently, we discovered that the email that you enter into Google+ becomes viewable to the public. If you list your home address, then your security (and even that of your family, if you list your home address) becomes at risk because anyone can see that information. There’s more to security online than just choosing a strong password. Here are some more tips to keep your information private in the very public realm of social media.

– Cover up the webcam: There have been numerous recent cases in the media about hackers logging into webcams in homes all over America. The details of these cases are horrific (we’re not linking to them to keep this family-friendly).  You can do one simple thing to protect your family and your kids, as well as your employees. Encourage anyone using a computer with webcam capabilities to cover their webcams whenever they are not in use, and to close their laptops when not in use. They can use something as simple as a post-it note to cover them up. Note that even if the light indicator is not on, a hacker can still be viewing you and your office or home through your camera!

– Never enter your home address into any social site: There are lots of places to enter your address in, under ‘information’ or ‘about me’ type tabs, but never enter your home address.  When you are setting up a business or ministry page on Facebook, you must enter an address to create the page. When you are doing this, use a business address or a P.O. Box, or enter your home address and then immediately go back in and erase it as soon as your page is created (though the email used is difficult to change, the address box can be erased immediately without erasing your page).

– Do not use a public computer for banking or financial transactions: The American Banker’s Association recommends now that businesses use a single computer for large financial transactions; one that is dedicated to finances, and that is securely encrypted. As always, never access your personal financial institutions from a computer in a public library or on a public wi-fi connection (such as a a coffeehouse), where someone could hack into the connection.

– Keep personal information out of your emails: Don’t include details like your birth date, full name, address, driver’s license, passwords, or bank account number in Facebook or any social messages, or emails (particularly company emails).

– Watch what you Instagram:  Instagram, one of the newer social channels, presents new opportunities to divulge personal information by accident. Never post a photo of your street address or a home number (a cute shot of your kids in front of your house may accidentally post your address to the world). Fun life events like getting a new license, or a passport, may be tempting to share, but don’t post photos of things that could be used to steal your identity.

Want more social media help? Check out FrontGate’s faith-based social media services here.