Can You Be Too Social?

Can You Be Too Social?

Yes, you can.  You’ve no doubt heard about Facebook and Twitter.  Have you heard of Linked-In or MySpace?  These are just a few of the many “social networking” websites available to connect with new friends, reconnect with old friends, find dates, network with business associates, and electronically “stalk” people, if you like to do that sort of thing.

All of these social networking sites ask you for a lot of personal information when you set up your account.  While some of the information is necessary – your email address, for example – a lot of it is up to you about whether or not you share it.  If certain information is required, a good social networking site will let you block that information from public view.  Here’s why you should block your personal information:

My uncle received a late-night phone call last month from his “grandson” claiming to need money wired to him immediately.  Thankfully, my uncle had presence of mind enough to ask enough questions to realize that the caller wasn’t anyone he should talk to. 

How did the scammer know he had a grandson, and how did the scammer know what his phone number was?  My uncle uses an application on Facebook that lists certain friends as family members – grandson, nephew, sister, etc.  My uncle also doesn’t have privacy settings turned on to block all of his information from people who are not his accepted friends.  The scammer accessed his phone number and a list of family members by just searching a random name.  This scam is successful for the bad guys, because the scammers keep doing it!

Be proactive and learn how to block your personal information from the bad guys.  Go to and type in “privacy settings for Facebook” or “privacy settings for Linked-In” (insert the social media site you use, of course).  The resulting sites will teach you how to turn the highest privacy settings on for your page.  And, for goodness sake, don’t “friend” people you don’t know, and stop using applications that tell the world all your personal business like your birthday and who your family members are!

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