Some Online Safety Suggestions from your Sausalito Webmaster
We spend way too much time online visiting sites with content about Sausalito, tending our Facebook and Twitter links and so on. We recently noticed several cases online where local Sausalito people inadvertently increased their risks, so we thought we'd share some inputs.
The examples below relate to Facebook, but the principles apply to all social media sites. Anyone can "Follow" you on Twitter and see everything you tweet (unless you specifically "block" them), even if it's only intended for your friends.
1. If your Facebook "Wall" is set to be open to be seen by anyone other than your immediate friends (or if you have hundreds of Facebook friends) don't put a message up on your page that says, "I'm going to Australia for two weeks!" It's not tough for thieves to do online research, get your address, and know that no one is home for a while. The hillside homes here in Sausalito don't always have neighbors close by to see or hear that something is going wrong.
Note: To change your privacy settings on Facebook, click on the pull-down menu labeled "Account" at the upper right of the Facebook screen.
2. If you're invited to an event via Facebook and you RSVP "No". the same rule applies. If your comment on the RSVP is "I'm in Philadelphia until June 1" that comment is displayed to everyone who comes to that page. Way too much information for potential thieves — just select "No" and send the organizers an email to explain why you''d rather be in Philadelphia. (Think about it for a while. The laugh will come eventually.)
3. Don't list your birth year on your Facebook page. When you edit your personal info on Facebook you can select options to display your entire birthday, just the date, or the date and the year. Since this information is sometimes used to identify you by financial institutions it's better not to share it so publicly. We have a friend who goes so far as to make the date "wrong" by one day. He still gets all the nice birthday wishes but his birthdate isn't published.
4. By the way, if you're into genealogy, the same applies to your mother's maiden name, also used for financial ID purposes. Try to avoid posting it on public websites by saying "I'm researching the Kiplinger family from Plano, Texas" instead of "I'm researching my mother's Kiplinger family." If people respond, you can then share data via email with them one at a time.
5. If you get a Facebook invite that does any of the following things, it's probably bogus and potentially a virus designed to help steal your identity. Once you click on the bad link the damage may be irreversible. The tip-offs:
– It says someone saw you on this video or in this photo or on that website and you should click on the link. Sometimes the content will say something embarrassing (usually "didn't know you'd show your *** in public like that) to try to get you to rush into clicking before you think.
– The spaces between words are misplaced, a trick to thwart computerized text-analysis defenses
– It says someone "liked" a website or joined a group you can't believe they liked or joined and they want you to do the same. If it turns out to be legit you can always click on it later, but email them and ask first. Maybe Uncle Harry really does want Dolly Parton to run for President… I just wouldn't click on it without asking.
6. No legit online site or email will EVER ask you to email your password to them. If you're asked to do so, it's the work of thieves. We know you hear this all the time, but sometimes people still get tricked by clever emails with lots of legitimate logos plastered in with the text. If in doubt, Google the relevant website and go there directly on your own instead of clicking on a link in the email.
7. If you suspect a website is a counterfeit stand-in for the real thing, look up at the URL at the top of your browser. If It just says www.bankofinfinity.com it's probably OK. But if it has extra letters in front of it like uuu.bankofinfinity.com or page227.bankofinfinity.com don't enter any data until you do a Google search to find what should be the right page.
Thanks for reading OurSausalito.com, and be careful out there.
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