Category Archives: Family

Protect Your Privacy: Adjust Facebook Privacy Settings on Images

It makes sense to protect your privacy online as much as possible. The problem, though, is that these days it’s hard to keep in touch with friends and family if you aren’t involved in social networking.

Indeed, social networking can be a great way to stay in contact with loved ones — especially if you want to make sure that grandma living three states away can enjoy pictures of her grandchildren. I know my mom loves being able to see pictures of my son on Facebook.

As you post images, though, it’s important to make sure that you understand your privacy options. I prefer my Facebook photos to be set to “Friends” so that only those who are actual friends of mine can see them. This protects my privacy, as well as protecting the privacy of my son.

Facebook Privacy Settings

Limiting Who Can See Your Facebook Photos

If you want to better maintain privacy on Facebook, you need to be careful about who sees your photos. First of all, Facebook now automatically uses your last setting for the privacy setting on your next image. So, if you want to protect your images going forward, just choose a particular privacy setting before uploading a new picture.

It’s also possible to set up custom Facebook privacy settings. I have gone through this process to allow my images to be seen only by Friends, but to let my status updates be seen by Friends of Friends. You can play around with custom settings to limit who sees what.

It’s even possible to put together a list of custom friends to limit which of your friends can see images. So, if you only want grandma and a few other family members to see pictures of your new baby, it’s possible to do that.

It’s a little more challenging to change the Facebook privacy settings on images that have already been posted. You either have to change them one at a time, or use an option that will apply a blanket to all your old posts. In the Privacy Settings and Tools section, you will see a “Limit Old Posts” button. Use that button to hide everything old. If you are unsure, it makes sense to choose this option, and then use your custom settings going forward.

Turn Off Location Services to Enhance Facebook Privacy Settings

Many of us, when using smart phones to take pictures, have the location services turned on. This means that when you snap a picture, the location is saved as well — and posted to Facebook.

That means if you take a picture of your adorable six-year-old at home, the location of your home will be saved with the image and uploaded to your accounts. Let that sink in for a minute.

One way to reduce the chances of your child’s location being known (whether you take the picture at home or in front of his or her school, or at a favorite playground) is to turn of the location services. Most smart phones allow you to do this in Settings.

The good news is that you don’t usually have to turn off the location services for every app. You can customize which apps are associated with location services. I’ve turned off location services for my smart phone’s camera altogether so that I don’t have to worry about it as much. However, location services is still on so that I can use my GPS and maps apps, and so that I can effectively use my stargazing app.

Take the time to customize your settings on your phone, as well as to review your Facebook privacy settings. You’ll guard better against identity theft, and better maintain what shred of online privacy you have left to you.

Is your child a victim of identity theft?

Credit: Vince Alongi
Credit: Vince Alongi
If you’ve ever been a victim of identity theft, you know how much of a pain it can be to fix. The longer it goes on, the harder it is to unwind all the problems a thief has created.

It’s probably why you monitor your credit report every few months.

But if you have kids, you might not think to monitor their credit reports too. It seems silly, since they should have no credit, but child identity theft is a huge problem. It’s reported that 5% of the identity theft complaints to the Federal Trade Commission were from minors under the age of 18. It’s becoming a go-to for identity thieves because parents don’t think to check their kids’ credit reports on a regular basis.

Many people discover identity theft because they apply for something, like a credit card or a loan, and discover something is amiss. Maybe it’s a recent credit card application they don’t remember or a missed bill they don’t have. Kids don’t apply for loans or credit cards. In fact, they’re underage, so they can’t even apply for those things because minors can’t enter into contracts (you would have to co-sign!).

This is why thieves are turning towards kids. It’s an easy target.

Since your child won’t be applying for anything, most warning signs will come from the government. If your child should receive government benefits of some kind but the agency reports that the benefits have already been paid, someone might be stealing your childs’ checks. That’s a subtle warning sign that something bad is happening.

Some other more obvious ones are if your child starts getting collections notices or you are told his or her Social Security Number is being claimed on another return. Anything out of the ordinary should be grounds for investigaion.

How can you prevent child identity theft?

Remember to check their credit reports.

It really is as simple as that. Contact Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion and request a credit report for your child’s name and Social Security Number. You’ll have to prove you are their parent or guardian, so be ready to provide your child’s birth certificate, Social Security card, your ID card, and proof of address.

Once you get the report, review it as you would your own. It should be pretty simple and straightforward but you never know if you’re (or rather your child) a victim until you get the report.

Good luck and remember to review this as often as you review your own.

Some preventative steps can save you serious time should you become victim.