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Posted on October 15, 2015 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, we’re taking a deeper dive into how to stay protected on social media.

Although social media can be a boon for online communication, it can be a bust when it comes to identity theft protection. Identity thieves tend to prey on sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, just waiting for opportunities to lift valuable information from unsuspecting users.

We’ve offered some general tips for social media usage in other posts. Now, let’s get into the details of privacy and security settings, since tweaking those can be one of the top ways to prevent identity theft.

Follow these steps for locking down your account and boosting your Facebook privacy.

  1. Go to Settings, then Privacy.

Facebook Privacy 1

All of your controls are located on your Settings page. To get there, click on the small arrow near the upper right corner of the main page, and then select Settings. On the Settings page, select Privacy from the left-side menu.

  1. Review your controls.

Facebook privacy 2

On the Privacy page, you can get a good idea of who can see your posts and also set some rules for other people tagging you or sharing your posts. Under the “Who can see my stuff?” section, you can make edits to increase Facebook privacy, such as choosing to have only friends see what you post. You can even more specific — for example, select the Customize option to create a list of people who are your “friends” but won’t see your posts unless you tag them.

  1. Limit who can find you.

Facebook privacy 2

Another important Facebook privacy option is limiting searches done on your email address, phone number or name. Be sure to edit these options for the highest possible security, which means turning off the ability for search engines to link to your timeline. Also change the default “Everyone” settings to private, since those have proven to be problematic when it comes to non-friends accessing your information.

  1. Review your security settings.

Facebook privacy 3

In addition to Facebook privacy controls, there’s also a section called Security. Most of this is related to how you log into the site, but be sure to review it with an eye toward higher security levels. For example, set an alert so that you’re notified when anyone logs into your account from a new device or browser. If you’re seeing any suspicious activity, select “Where You’re Logged In,” and if there are devices or locations you don’t recognize, click “End Activity” to shut off those connections.

In our next couple posts, we’ll tackle Twitter and Instagram. By locking down these three major social media powerhouses, you can enjoy being social — while still being protected.