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How to Hide Yourself on Facebook (Hide on Facebook)

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While delivering an internet privacy keynote presentation for a large organization that was very interested in best practices for business, I was asked a very interesting question:

Can I use Facebook to log in to other sites and to keep track of friends without allowing the social network to share my information the other direction?

In reality, it’s difficult to just up and quit Facebook completely, but it’s not that difficult to hide on Facebook. Many users want to mine the social network like the proverbial fly on the wall. They want to watch what is going on in other people’s lives without them seeing or commenting on what is going on in yours. You might use your Facebook login credentials to centralize access to other sites (e.g., log in to Twitter with your Facebook credentials). Or you may want to keep it open so that your username isn’t made available to someone else. So how do you drop off of the Facebook radar without completely closing your account? The steps below are the closest approximation we’ve come up with to going underground.

  1. First go to Facebook.com and log in.  Click the padlock symbol containing your “Privacy Shortcuts” in the top-right corner.  You will see three main options, plus a chance to “See More Settings”.
  2. Start with “Who Can See My Stuff?”, which has three subcategories.  Depending on how much you want to hide, you can select Friends or Only Me or even customize it to very specific groups.  Change by clicking on the tab next to your current setting.  This section also allows you to review old posts and things you’re tagged in and to see how others view your timeline based on the privileges you’ve set. The more items you restrict to Only Me, the less visible you become to the outside world. Please realize that Facebook reserves the right to publish certain items about you no matter how tightly you restrict your settings. Visit their Data Use Policy for details.
  3. The second category is “Who can contact me?”  You can choose basic filtering (which Facebook recommends, but won’t keep your profile very private) or strict filtering.  Here is where you also select who can send you friend requests (everyone or friends of friends).
  4. The final category is “How do I stop someone from bothering me?”  (This is the infamous “unfriend” section.)  This gives you an option to put in a specific name or email address.  This will prevent them from writing to you or from seeing anything you post.
  5. When you click on “See more settings”, you will notice some duplicate sections.  The important area here is the last one, “Who can look me up?”  It allows you to choose who can contact you with your email or phone number as well as allowing search engines to link to your timeline.

That should do it to hide on Facebook in most situations.  Remember, this is a social network, so to some degree, you will always be sharing your information with someone. To get even more in depth in creating your privacy settings, click on the arrow pointing down in the top right hand corner of your page and select “Settings”.  From here you can review everything from timelines and tagging to management of apps.  It’s fairly user friendly; just click on a category and then the bolded words or “edit” options and you’ll get a complete explanation of your options with clear-cut directions.

If you really do want to delete your Facebook account completely, here’s how.

Internet Privacy Expert John Sileo Demonstrates Why Most Keynotes Fail: Boredom

John Sileo is an an award-winning author and keynote speaker on identity theft, internet privacy, fraud training & technology defense. John specializes in making security entertaining, so that it works. John is CEO of The Sileo Group, whose clients include the Pentagon, Visa, Homeland Security & Pfizer. John’s body of work includes appearances on 60 Minutes, Rachael RayAnderson Cooper & Fox Business. Contact him directly on 800.258.8076.

Cyber Theft on Cyber Monday

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Don’t let a Cyber Scrooge Spoil Your Holidays!

Although most shoppers gear up and focus on Black Friday, Cyber Monday offers tons of hot deals to online shoppers. It began in 2005 and quickly became one of the biggest online shopping days of the year. On average, online shopping increases by 16% (worth more than $760 million dollars) on this one day alone!

Shoppers find the appeal in avoiding parking lots at malls, bustling stores and frantic holiday crowds. While it is very convenient, you can also be putting yourself at greater risk for identity theft and credit card fraud if you are not careful. In any situation there are steps you can take to protect yourself and make it easier to detect fraud if you become a victim. If you protect yourself, I feel that you are safer shopping online than in person (where about 15% of identity theft takes place).

Protect Yourself Online on Cyber Monday

Here are a few steps to take to protect yourself on Cyber Monday:

  • Never Shop on a Public Wi-Fi Connection – Although you may trust the baristas at your local coffee shop, you can’t always trust the person sitting next to you. Hackers can easily tap into Wi-Fi connections at public hot spots to steal your identity information. This can be especially dangerous when you are making purchases with your credit card on unsecured connections. Always wait until you are on a land line (Ethernet cable) at a location you trust – I recommend making purchases at home.
  • Monitor Your Accounts – While you are doing a lot of shopping – online and in the store – it is good to keep an eye on your bank and credit card accounts. Match your receipts up to your statement to make sure that they are correct and there are no fraudulent charges. Keep an eye out for small charges, sometimes that is how crooks test to make sure they have a good card. For convenience, set up credit card account alerts that automatically email or text you every time you make a purchase. It makes detecting fraud a snap.
  • Only Shop on Trusted Websites – Don’t just let the search engine pick the site for you, make sure you are using a trusted and well-known website. Type in the direct web address for the stores you are familiar with, and don’t shop on price alone.
  • Read the Reviews – When shopping on Ebay or Amazon for gifts this season, read the reviews of the actual seller. While the site may be credited with security, purchasers may have had problems in the past that you want to know about before you buy from them. Only shop on Craigslist if you have extensive experience avoiding online fraud.
  • Look for Signs They are Protecting Your Data – On the Web page where you enter your credit card or other personal information, look for an “s” after http in the Web address of that page and a secured padlock (as shown below). Encryption is a security measure that scrambles data as it travels through the Internet.
  • Keep Your Web Browser Updated – Internet Explorer 7 and 8 provide another layer of protection with Web sites that use Extended Validation (EV) Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) Certificates. The address bar turns green and has both https and the closed padlock. Make sure that when your computer is asking you to update your software you don’t ignore the requests.

Remember, the faster you detect Identity Theft the easier it is to clean it up. Always be aware of what is on your credit report and your bank statements, as crooks rely on our lackadaisical attitude to continue their crooked ways.

John Sileo became America’s top Identity Theft Speaker after he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft and data breach. His newest Book Privacy Means Profit – Prevent Identity Theft and Secure You and Your Bottom Line, has just been released. His clients include the Department of Defense, the FTC, Pfizer and the FDIC. To learn more about having him speak at your next meeting or conference, contact him by email or on 800.258.8076.

Identity Theft Expert: Theft Runs Rampant as Economy Tumbles

matrixvortex1At the Privacy Project, our success is your nightmare (unless you are my speaking agent).

Business at the Sileo Group and engagements as an identity theft speaker are up 400% compared with the same period last year. I am booked for exactly 4X as many identity theft prevention and privacy leadership speeches in the first quarter of 2009 as I was in 2008; and 2008 brought me more work than I could handle on my own. Some of this is due to an extensive contract with the Department of Defense, but not all of it.

I’m not sharing our success to blow my own horn, though admittedly, it is satisfying to finally share some good news with you after having lost so much to this crime.

I’m sharing because our success gave me cold sweats at 3am this morning.

Why? Because the strength of my business is inversely proportional to the safety of yours. My business is thriving because identity theft is thriving, and that is not my purpose for being in business. I am in the identity theft prevention business to put myself out of a job. When I say it keeps me awake at night, I’m being sincere. At 3am this morning, I spent several hours deciphering the underlying causes responsible for the exploding demand for identity theft speakers… even as the meetings and speaking business has suffered drastically at the hands of the spiraling economy. And then it came to me; I realized that the answer was contained in the question… Read more