In honor of Choose Privacy Week (May 1-7), I'd like to share some information about how to choose privacy when it comes to your web presence. You may have heard about the recent Heartbleed bug that has compromised many websites and prompted users to change their passwords. If not, you should probably find out a little more about this and how it may affect you.
But for now, check out my tips for what NOT to share online - This is my own personal list of things to avoid putting on the internet:
1. Vacation Timelines
We've all seen Home Alone, right? And that happened before Facebook was a thing. So, although you hopefully have trustworthy social media friends, I would strongly suggest not sharing dates or times when you're entire house is sitting empty, which would give dishonest people the perfect opportunity to burglarize your house while you're gone. Or, you could always hire a house-sitter while you're gone to avoid the situation completely. (Just don't accidentally leave your 10-year-old kid at home by himself to deal with the robbers!)
2. Social Security Number/Bank Account PINs
Seems like a no-brainer, but I feel like we've all been given the opportunity online to share some personal information like a social security number or account PIN. But there are just some things that aren't worth taking the risk to share, even if it seems like a valid website.
On a related note - Never click through a bank or PayPal link in an email. Always type in the bank's email address in a new browser tab to ensure that you are logging in at the correct website. Years ago (before spam was as frequent) my mother thought she was logging into her bank account only to find out it was spam and her entire account was stolen and compromised. What a huge headache. It's much easier to just avoid the mess!
3. Your Location
Okay, so I've "checked in" at locations once or twice on Facebook (which, by the way, I have pretty strict privacy settings on.) But I've since started re-thinking the whole check-in idea. Do I really want the world to know where they can find me at any given moment? This is more of a personal preference guideline, but if you don't want certain people bothering you during a night out or if you have a crazy stalker, avoid sharing your location.
Ultimately, the choice is yours what you choose to keep private and what you choose to share. Just remember that sharing something online means that there's a possibility of it being broadcast to the world - even if you think it's secure. For me personally, I probably share more than I normally would because I'm a blogger - But generally that's in the form of photos and social media presence. I still avoid sharing too much about myself if I can help it, and definitely try to keep my bank and personal data secure.
Join the discussion - What are the Top 3 Things YOU avoid sharing?
Special thanks to SingleHop for promoting this educational initiative for Choose Privacy Week!