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TipsTips and Info Links on Protecting your
Online Personal Information & Financial Data

from Huge Increases in Identity Theft Online

-- Especially at Membership or Organization Web Sites
Like Facebook and Other Social Network & Social Media Sites

+ Tips & Links on Protecting your Kids & Teens Online

+ Tips on Marketing -- NOT Spamming! -- Via Social Networking Sites

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Tips Seven Simple Proactive Steps You can take to Protect your Online Personal Information and Data from some of the Hackers,
Identity Theft Crooks, & "Predators" also on the www --
along with
the potential new Business Web Site Viewers that you want to attract!

Dangers in Online "Secure Info??" Sites such as Facebook + other "Private??" Member or Organization Sites where you are asked to give your Date of Birth and other personal Info.

Why should a person in Business even bother with Facebook and other Social Networking Sites? -- Turns out there may be business reasons

How can you Market your new Online Business to the other Members of the Social Networking Sites -- without breaking their "Spam" rules

-- Direct to
Why be Concerned about Your Online Security and the Increasing Online Identity Theft in the US? + Main Points & Links on Online Security for all Ages below

-- Direct to
7 Simple Proactive Steps you can easily use to protect your Personal Info + Boost Your Online Privacy with an Un-Birthday below

-- Direct to
Kids and Teens Online Safety Info, Resources, & Links below

Many online Business Seminars and Forums talk about the importance of "Branding" your Business Web Site. Often they suggest that the builder of the Business Web Site, or a Key Person in the Online Business have a presence or be active at a few Social Networking Web Sites -- both to build some awareness and even interest in or "trust" of that new Site individual -- and indirectly also the new Business Web Site.

The Business Owner or Key Person's activity at the Social Media or Networking Sites can also serve to get some possible Viewers from the Links back to the new Business Web Site posted on that Individual's "Profile" page. Then possibly other "Links In" to the Business Web Site's pages will come later from Viewers that initially come to the new Business Web Site from the Social Networking or Media Site Links.

This web page is not directly about "Building a Business Website Cheap," but it IS about a "Protect your Personal Online Information" Security topic which is very important if you spend any time online, do any business online, or join any Online Social Networking or Social Media Sites, which anyone trying to build an Online Business and do any "Branding" of that new Online Commercial Business which they hope to "monetize" in some way will probably do.

This page has some simple tips + links to some interesting and helpful articles on a VERY important topic these days for both you and your Family's personal online safety, and even your financial data security!

Why be Concerned about Your Online Security and the rapidly Increasing amounts of Identity Theft in the US?

Why should you even be concerned about Online Security? See a "Real Case" plus some scary US Identity Fraud statistics for why you need to take some proactive steps now to Protect your Online Information -- scan this: Warning: Your Identity Is In Danger: A True Crime Story

-- From the above article: "In 2009, 11.1 million U.S. adults became victims of identity fraud . . . a 37% increase from 2007. . . . The fraud amounts totaled $54 billion. With each incidence averaging $4,841 . . ."

Or -- IRS sees huge increase in theft of taxpayer identities at Tax time article.  From Article "... a nearly five-fold increase in taxpayer identity theft between 2008 and 2010."

Or scan this Article: Consumer Reports Survey: 52 Percent of Social Network Users Post Risky Information

The "10 Reasons To Delete Your Facebook Account Article" at BusinessInsider .com linked to below may be calling for an "extreme" measure --

-- BUT -- the "10 Reasons --" article and the other Online Security Topic articles linked to above and below all have some very important things you should watch out for in ANY online Membership or Organization Web Site that requests that you share your Personal Info for a Personal "Profile Page" or some type of Membership Data List

Personal Information often requested at Membership & Social Media Networking Sites:

  • Date of Birth -- the potentially WORST one other than your Social Security # as far as Identity Theft and theft of Your Financial Data!! -- Think about how many Sites ask for your DOB Vs just asking if you are of legal age to use the Site or if you are over 18. Even e-card sites where you enter your -- plus all your family and friends -- birthdays or even dates of birth.
    (Makes you wonder if you should participate at those Sites where you enter your DOB to supposedly try to win a prize! -- more on the Date of Birth issue + a recent "Protect your Privacy with an online Un-Birthday" article link below)

  • Your street address and home phone number are already easily "findable" at several phone # lookup Sites -- IF a Hacker, potential Identity Theft Crook, or otherwise Wierdo has your real name.

  • Your email address is also now fairly easy to find at some online sites -- along with your Cell phone number and even "unlisted" home phone numbers. Often these Sites charge a fee under $10 for a LOT of your personal Info!

  • Your town of birth, first school attended, or mothers maiden name -- often used as "security" questions at Financial and Credit Card Sites. (Makes you wonder about how much Info you should put at those Classmate and High School Reunion Sites!)

To see how much on you is already "out there" online right now -- type your first and last name into a Google Search Box and look at some of the links on YOU in the long results list that shows up!!!! It shows what anyone can easily find on you if they have your real full name and do a simple online search. Scary!!!

-- This is yet another reason to be very cautious on what you (and your Kids) put "out there" online since everyone from Potential Employers to College Admission and Scholarship personnel can often access your personal information and former online postings. This online personal Information remains available often years after you think you have deleted it if they know how to search some "Archived" online data that remains many years later. (Also see the Kids Internet Safety Statistics Article Link below)

Most of the Sites that encourage or require you to give some or all of the above Info SAY they give you the option of "Hiding" it from the public and only sharing it with your selected "Friends" or just yourself -- BUT --

As the Article below says, even though your Private Info, email address, and DOB is not "Publicly" displayed or only seen by your "Friends" (+ possibly also their Friends!) -- Your DOB and other Personal Info is still made available to US and Foreign "Private Applications Developers" who are developing applications that will "Interface" with Sites such as Facebook and others.

Your personal Information may also be available to the developers of the Software for the Organization or Membership Web Site that you are using. Many Civic organizations use Web Site Software supplied by developers who may not actually be very concerned about how well the Members Personal Information is protected. Often these Software Developers -- or their programming personnel -- are outside the US.

-- Thus they may not bound by US Information Privacy & Security Laws.

BUT POSSIBLY WORSE -- an unscrupulous Foreign or US Hacker could use special Password Breaking software that could let them view your Personal Info on that Site -- OR that of someone else who is your "Friend" and who is using a more "easy to break" password than you are.
-- or worse yet, your Friend or member of your Organization is still using the initial "default" Web Site password some Sites use that many including the Hackers and the Crooks know.

That Hacker can then, Via access to your "Friend"s account, get your Date of Birth, Wedding Anniversary date, original place of birth, and anything else you have supposedly "Privately" placed on that Organization or Membership Site and then sell it online at some Foreign Hacker Sites where that type of Info on Americans is routinely sold to potential Credit Card and Identity Thieves for 50 cents to $10.00 per name.
-- (the price they can get for your Private Info is sometimes determined by the "Wealth Index" of your Zip Code, a criterion sometimes used in the sale of Mailing Lists.)

-- This is why you REALLY want to take steps to protect your and other members of your Family's actual DOB and other private info!!! -- And possibly also consider protecting your "real" name Info since almost everything else on you is already "out there" for Identity Theft Crooks using the extensive results Info from a simple Google search on your Real Name as you saw if you actually did that Google search of your name as mentioned above.

Seven (7) Simple Proactive Steps you can easily use to protect your Personal Info against Identity Theft and Increase your Online Data Security -- Personal or Business:

  1. NEVER use your actual Date of Birth on ANY online Site that requests it except for your Bank and and other Financial Sites. For additional security, these Sites often now use special "2-step" secure log in's. In addition, often their login procedure checks for their Financial Site's security "cookies" placed on the computer you usually use to log in to their Site!!! (I learned this about using a "close" Vs your actual DOB at a online business seminar a few years ago, and it really makes sense. More on this and the importance of an Online "Un-Birthday" below.)

    -- A recent Article on this Topic -- Boost Your (Online) Privacy with an Un-Birthday
    -- (Note - I personally think it is better to use an alternate method to select your "Un-Birthday" date than the one given in this article -- especially if you belong to any organizations which honor birthdays in some way) -- more on this method at the "Using a "close" Date of Birth Vs your actual DOB" paragraph below.

  2. Never log into any Bank, Credit Card, PayPal, or other Financial Site from a link sent to you in an email (It could actually be a "phishing" email from a fake "Look alike" Web Site trying to steal your Log in and other Personal Info & Data.)
    -- only log in after going to the Financial Site by typing in the Bank or Credit Card URL to your Browser or from YOUR checked and verified bookmark

  3. And then always check for the https: in the Financial Site's familiar URL that you have double checked in your Browser's top Navigation box!!! Most Sites also display a small padlock icon in your browser's bottom status bar when you are on a secure page.

  4. And - Important -- also use good Comprehensive Online Security Software with protection against "AntiPhishing" Fraudulent Web Sites and constant automatic updating. (One of the best reviewed for this is Norton 360 Security Package Version 4 - at a Discount from Amazon -- you can also check the "Customer Reviews" of the 360 Security Package Software there.)
    I recently switched from another popular Security Package to Norton 360 after a nasty Trojan Virus made it "through" my prior security package and did major damage to the data on my Laptop Computer hard drive. (I had a recent external hard drive backup thank goodness! A Backup module you can configure with your preferences is built into the Norton 360 Security Package.)
      You may have noticed by now if you have read some of the other "Reviews" or "Top Picks" pages on my four "main" Web Wites that I do not recommend any Software, Digital Camera, Attraction, Resort Rental, Restaurant, Web Site Hosting, or other service that my Wife and I have not personally used, visited, or tested.

  5. Just generally be very cautious with what Personal Information you fill in or post at ANY online Web Site -- your personal data may not be nearly as private and secure at the online social media or membership site as you are lead to believe! (See articles below)

  6. Check out Identity Theft Protection. LifeLock gets good reviews and is another proactive step to help protect yourself from ID theft. My Wife and I have had LifeLock for about a year and were particularly happy that we did when her purse with her drivers license, credit cards, and check book was stolen recently.
      More Info at: LifeLock Identity Theft Protection

  7. Do regular backups of your important files and personal Data on your hard drive to a "local" external hard drive or to an online file folder backup system -- or do both!

     I now do both after 2 computer hard drive "crashes" in the last 12 months that have made me a bit paranoid. I use a Western Digital external hard drive which is hooked up only on those backup nights every two weeks via usb cable. -- IF I can always remember to hook it up and do it! (One reason why automatic Online Backups are becoming so popular!) My opinion is that leaving the external hard drive hooked up, running, and backing up changed files all the time makes it as susceptible to failing as your constantly running computer internal hard drive.

     I also now do an automatic back up of important files and folders to an Online File Folder three times a week at where I have many Domain Names plus this Web Site Hosted. (Hover your cursor on the "e-mail" link in the green bar on the above GoDaddy page and click the "Online File Folder" Info Link. Very reasonable online storage pricing and automatic online file folder system works great.)
      I am in the process of setting up a free 2GB Automatic Online Backup "trial" account on my Wife's iMac with Mozy Online Backup. See details at the try Mozy for FREE Info page

Using a "close" Date of Birth (An "Un-Birthday") Vs your actual DOB Online at non-Financial Web Sites:

When you HAVE to give your (or a) Date of Birth to use a Web Site -- instead consider using a "close" date year that is 2-5 years different than your actual DOB -- and definitely NOT your actual day of birth! (You may want to leave the Month as your actual for a Club Membership Site like Rotary and many other Civic or Business Organization Sites where all members with Birthdays that month get cards and/or honored in some way. If possible, it is suggested you use an earlier date in the month than your "actual," so B-day well wishers won't be late.)

You want to leave your online Year of Birth "close" for some Sites like Facebook, StumbleUpon, and other "Social Media" Sites where people can search for other members to "Friend," "Follow," or "Subscribe to" who have interests similar to theirs and/or who are approximately the same age.

Younger kids and teens should usually use a DOB year that makes them appear slightly "older" online than their actual year for safety reasons because of some of the online "Wierdo's" out there!

(See this Kids Internet Safety Statistics page for more Info and Links on that.)

-- ) -- some shocking Info!

Reasons for using an "alias" or "online" name that you use everywhere online

If you have the option of using a name that is not your actual name for some more "Public" online sites, consider using an "alias" or "online" name that you use everywhere online.
  -- Some may not want to use an "assumed" name online because they want to be "Found" for Networking reasons -- or they now already have too much "invested in" their Facebook or other Social Networking or Social Media Site to change!

Pick a name to "assume" that you are comfortable with and then use it everywhere on the WWW for consistency and to make it easy for you to remember (You might first want to check if the new online name you are considering is available as a .com Domain name and as a g-mail email address. )
-- Consistantly use this new "assumed" name online, along with your "Un-Birthday" DOB that hopefully you are now also using online --(Except at Financial Sites!) You can email your Friends your new Online name and reason for the change so they can now "find" you on the www.

Note: An "Online Name" will make it more difficult for your Facebook and other Social Site acquaintances or old classmates who are looking for you by your actual name to Network and find you at the online Social Sites. Plus you may have a few questions that come up from them regarding this Guy or Gal who looks like you, but has a different Facebook name.

But you can explain your reasons and they should respect and accept your desire for privacy & security -- and they may actually follow your lead!

If you have already filled in your actual Date of Birth on ANY online Sites other than your Credit Cards, PayPal, Bank, or other Financial Sites -- it is suggested that you go change that Info if you can to your new similar "Un-Birthday" DOB immediately!!!

If the Social Media or Membership Web Site will not let you change your DOB Info now, you may want to consider deleting your account on that Site -- But NOT just "Deactivating" it, which is much different as is covered in Point 3 of the "10 Reasons ---" article below.
You will then have to re-set-up your new name at that Site, so before you delete, make a copy of your profile Info to make the setting up easier. Read the instructions in Point 3 on actually "deleting" your data in the article carefully first.

At least change or delete as much of your private Info as you can on the Site(s) -- remember that even if you select the "Private - Do not display Date of Birth" option, the Hackers and Foreign programmers working on the Social Networking Site can still see all of your Personal Info.

Tips Tip: Some Form Info input lines say they are *required info -- but they will still accept that line if you only type in a few "filler" letters or numbers -- sometimes even spaces will do

-- remember not to change your name and mailing address on any Site that you receive non-spam regular postal mailings from!

Points 2 - 8 in the "10 Reasons --" article below are of particular interest on this topic:
(Again - we are NOT suggesting here that you delete your Facebook account -- just that you be cautious on what you put "out there" on the www and take some proactive steps to protect your personal online information and private data.)

10 Reasons to Delete Your Facebook Account Article at BusnessInsider Web Site

Facebook Shared Personal Data with Advertisers Without User Consent - DailyFinance

Facebook Staff Meets to Discuss Privacy Policy as Backlash Gains Momentum

Protect your Identity Online: Facebook a Social Hackers Dream

Other articles on Online Personal Information Security & Social Networks Information Security:

Privacy Theater: Why Social Networks Only Pretend To Protect You

Article discussing the Consumer Reports Survey: 52 Percent of Social Network Users Post Risky Information - Plus article has list of 7 things for You and your Kids & Teenagers to stop doing on Facebook NOW!!! -- also some interesting additional Stats from the article. (I disagree with the article's comments on Free Security Software being "Fine" for most people. I had a very "damaging" experience to the Contrary. Stick with well Reviewed and tested Norton 360.)

Protect Yourself: Beyond the Basics - ID theft and phishing scams - At

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know

Protect Your Privacy on Facebook and Twitter - PC World Article
- practical tips to help you be on guard against Internet fraud, secure your computer, and protect your personal information - Government Online Security Info Site

Google Sophisticated Cyber-attack puts spotlight on China's "red" hackers

Kids and Teens Online Safety Info, Resources, & Links + Security & Anti-Virus + Anti Phishing Software: (Also see "Seven Simple Steps to Protect Your Personal Info" above)

Kids Internet Safety: -- some scary Info! -- (This link is also above)

Protecting Your Kids on Facebook - Norton Family Resources - Good Article! - . . ."the world's largest Internet safety, help and education resource"

Quick tips on Social Networking safety for parents & teens - 1 page printable pdf file. - For Parents, educators, law enforcement, youth organizations, and others that want to learn more about the Internet and the possible dangers to children online.
 "NetSmartz® is an interactive, educational safety resource from the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) for children aged 5 to 17, parents, guardians, educators, and law enforcement that uses age-appropriate, 3-D activities to teach children how to stay safer on the Internet." (Also See NetSmartz411 link on page above + Kids and Teens Direct NetSmartz Links below)

NetSmartzWorkshop - Downloadable Videos - Some Real Life stories of bad and sad experiences of Kids online at some Web Sites directed at kids and teens. - Fun Site which has Kids online security topics geared to younger Kids. The Site does not link to any outside sources. NetSmartz says that you can trust that this Site is safe for your children. From briefly checking out the Site, it looks like that is the case. -- NetSmarz Site especially for Teens

Comprehensive Security and Anti-Virus Software with "AntiPhishing" Fraudulent Web Sites Protection -- This link is also above on this "Protect Online Information" page

Back to Main Points & Links on Online Security for all Ages above

Using Social Networking Sites to help Market your new Business Website:

You can use some types of Social Networking Sites in a positive way to help market your new Online Business, but there are many written -- and sometimes unwritten -- Rules regarding "Spamming" members of those sites you should make yourself aware of before you start posting links and sending group emails regarding your new Business Website pages to all of your new online "Friends."

Since many of these groups are so large, if you were to get branded as a "Spammer" by some influential members of the Online Networking Site, the negative backlash could be Huge!

Definately check out the Social Network Site's written guidelines plus their Forum and other posts relating to the Promoting of your own Website topic before posting your Profile and doing any promotional posts or emails of any kind on the Site. The rules on Self Promotional Web Site Marketing vary widely among the Social Networking Sites so investigate before you start and inadvertantly break some rules.

See these articles for some Tips on Internet Marketing -- and NOT Spamming -- Via Social Networking & Media Sites:

Online Marketing Through Social Networking Sites - Keep it Real -- No Spam

Spam Is Back, With a Social Networking Vengeance - at Mashable: The Social Media Guide

Targeting Niche Social Media Sites: 7 Practical Steps for Success

We hope this page and the Articles at the links above give you some Ideas to consider on the Important Online Info Security and Privacy topic -- plus some Tips on Promotional Marketing Via Social Network Sites without Spamming. Please feel to email me if you have any questions, other suggestions, or additional good Protect Personal Online Information & Personal Online Security article links on this topic. Thanks!

-- Stay Secure in Your Business and Personally -- Online and everywhere!

 Gene Seecann -- - 4 US Vacation Guide Web Sites + 1 other Business Web Site -- Listing and Descriptions + popular pages + Photo page links

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