From vacation photos to wedding albums, interesting news articles to political discussions, Facebook is a wonderful tool we can use to share information and interact with friends, family, and acquaintances in one place.
With over 1.39 billion active monthly users worldwide, that’s a lot of information. How much is too much to share?
Even if you’ve carefully set your privacy settings, here are five things you might consider keeping offline, from Komando.com via USA Today. On their own, each of these pieces of information isn’t necessarily bad, but add them up, and you could be a target for identity theft or stalking.
1. Your address.
You can’t wait to post that beautiful photo of a tropical sunset on vacation, so you upload it from your phone—maybe even tagging your location. Gorgeous!
The only problem is that if you’ve listed your address in your profile, you’re advertising to potential thieves that you’re away, and your home is empty.
To remove your address from your profile, go to “Update Info” and then “contact and Basic Info.”
Make sure to remove your address from past events you may have hosted as well, since those can be visible to the public.
2. Work-related information.
It’s easier to break through to companies through their people, and a prime place to learn more about an organization’s employees is through social media. Check out what happens when hackers use this method to steal information or money from a company.
Be selective about current or former coworkers you friend on Facebook, and make sure to go back through your posting history to remove work-related comments or mentions.
3. Your relationship status.
Ever seen someone in your news feed change their relationship status to “single”? It can elicit all sorts of awkward and potentially creepy comments.
It may seem minor, but even “it’s complicated” statuses can invite stalkers. If you don’t want comments, you may want to remove the feature from your profile altogether.
4. Your credit card information.
You don’t need to pay to use Facebook, but perhaps you’ve considered buying gift cards or other goods through the site for convenience, and you enter your credit card information.
All it takes is to leave your profile open on a home, work, or public computer that someone else gains access to, and anyone can purchase things in your name. With many recent data breaches, it isn’t unlikely that information could be stolen from Facebook as well, and it’s best to limit the sites that store your credit card information online.
5. Your phone number.
Facebook requires you to give your mobile number for security reasons, but that doesn’t mean you have to advertise it on your profile—it’s visible to anyone you friend by default.
To remove it, go “Update Info” and click on “Contact and Basic Info.” Click edit, then the little icon, and select the drop-down that reads “Only Me” so that no one else can see your phone number.
Make sure to look back through your posts, and remove any information such as “I lost my phone. Please add my new number, XXX-XXXX.” If this does happen to you in the future, you can simply ask your friends to message you privately to get your new number.
Don’t let these pieces of information prevent you from enjoying Facebook, but do share with care. Happy Facebooking!