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Basic Facebook Security Tips

Many people are somewhat aware of the risks that arise from using any of the popular social media networks. According to Hootsuite, online scams have grown by 150% last year. Any yet, very few people know what to do to protect their identity online. Here are the most important Facebook tips that you should follow to the letter.

1. If you are a parent, tell your kids that they need to wait until they are at least 13 years old before opening a Facebook account. It's required by Facebook itself, and it will keep them out of harm's way.

2. Don't give away too much personal information in your public profile. This starts with your name; Facebook will only ask for your correct name, but will accept a nickname as a replacement for your surname. By doing this, predators won't be able to identify you. Of course, it helps to keep your email address and phone number(s) private as well. Yes, don't even allow your virtual Facebook friends to have access to this information, because some of them may not be that nice, in the end. My guess is that your real friends already have your cell phone number and email address, so why include them in your Facebook profile?

3. Keep your private information... private. Facebook is constantly tweaking its settings, so be sure to only show your profile information to people who have already been accepted as friends. Don't allow an update to reset this type of information to its default values.

4. Don't ever post your location data or pictures from your vacation. Criminals may use this apparently harmless information to "visit" your unprotected home, and you don't want that to happen. I know that only your verified Facebook friends will have access to this type of information, but even if a single one of them uses a public computer to check for your latest updates, the information can be seen by others as well.

5. Don't ever post your birthday date on Facebook. By doing this, you will give identity thieves a crucial piece of information. Later on, they'll be able to get access to the rest of the information pieces as well.

6. If you care about your kids, don't ever post pictures of them online. And if you really feel the urge to do that, at least don't tag those pictures with their names. Predators can use this information (and more) to build trust, convincing your kids that they are friends with their parents, and maybe even relatives.

7. Use a strong account password. It is really easy to generate a strong, unique password; see for yourself. Simple passwords can be broken within seconds, and then villains can easily get into your account and steal precious information. Avoid accessing your Facebook account on public computers. And if you really need to do that, be sure to log out of Facebook the second you're done with it. If your account gets hacked, don't forget to report it immediately. Why? Because hackers may use a hacked account to convince your Facebook friends to give them money, or at least make them infect their computers, tablets or smart phones with viruses, with the goal of making some money off them afterwards. That's one of the most used ransomware methods.

8. Don't install the latest and greatest Facebook app just because your friends are already using it! Lots of people have built applications that have the power to steal user information and data, collecting email addresses which are then sold to spammers, for example.

These are the most basic, and yet crucial Facebook security tips. Apply them all and I guarantee that you will be way ahead of the pack when it comes to security.