Social networking sites are one of the key places for sharing personal information. There’s no problem with staying in touch with friends on social media but you need to be aware of the risks and protect yourself and your friends.
The 2013 OAIC Community attitudes to privacy survey shows that 60% of young people think that online services, including social media, are the greatest risk to privacy right now. And 33% of young people have posted something on social media that they later regretted.
Social media sites have privacy policies — so make sure you read the terms and conditions, and adjust your privacy settings, so that you are only sharing with friends and people you trust.
Think about the consequences of your actions — your digital identity is real, and once something is out there it’s almost impossible to take it back.
It’s also important to respect your friends and the people around you — think before you post, tag or share photos or information about other people.
ID theft and fraud are on the rise in Australia, and the availability of personal information in the online environment makes it more important than ever to protect your identity.
If an organisation or person wants to collect personal information from you, ask why the information is required, what they will do with it and who will it be disclosed to:
• Only give your personal information to an organisation that you trust
• Only give out as much personal information as you need to.
• Think twice before posting any personal information about yourself online.
• Make sure the anti-virus software on your computer is up-to-date, and make sure your network is protected by a firewall.
• Keep an eye on your credit card and bank statements for suspicious transactions.
• Minimise the amount of personal information you carry around, especially at places where it is likely to get lost or stolen, such as the beach, clubs etc.
• Shred all documents you no longer need that contain personal information
• Use the privacy settings on social networking sites.
• Watch out for scams! Consider signing up for SCAMwatch, or the StaySmartOnline alert service, which are free email alert services provided by the Australian Government
• Check your credit report with the following major credit reporting bodies:
o Dun and Bradstreet
More in our Privacy Series: Changes To The Law; Top 10 Privacy Tips; and The Truth About Your Credit Report