published Saturday, August 13th, 2011

Phillips: Careless use of Facebook may someday haunt you


by Ellen Phillips

We’ve all heard horror stories of a quick posting on Facebook that comes back to haunt us later on, such as telling of an upcoming vacation and returning home to find we’ve been burgled or bragging how much our wife “Tina” loves to cook and our other wife whom we didn’t take the trouble to divorce finds out about Wifey Tina.

While these are exaggerated scenarios (though they do occur), other more routine postings help us along the road to disaster, as well.

Indiscreet photos or bragging of sexual or illegal feats can come back to bite us. Just think about the prospective employer who checks our account. Yes, he may be looking just for job qualifications or verifying work claims.

On the other hand, when he comes across the photo of you with your buddies’ three sheets to the wind or in that itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini (or less), he might just look elsewhere for that new hire. Why take the chance?

Moreover, Facebook

users who don’t employ its privacy settings may find themselves on the other end of computer exploitation. Last year, according to Consumer Reports magazine, more than 5 million users were victimized by abuse on the Facebook site.

These included malware infections from apps, harassment and actual threats. So what exactly can we do to keep ourselves safe while continuing to enjoy this communication with “friends” and family? (To be continued.)

about Ellen Phillips...

Ellen Phillips is a retired English teacher who has written two consumer-oriented books. Her Consumer Watch column appears on Saturdays in the Business section of the paper. An expanded version is at www.timesfreepress.com under Local Business.

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