Social networking online has captured the interest of the general public in recent years. Social networking websites, like Facebook,  give  users an way to interact with a large circle of friends and acquaintances online.  To protect yourself and your loved ones, keep informed on safe social networking practices.

Prevent Identity Theft

  • Know the social networking site and its privacy settings before signing up.
    • Reputable sites will have controls that allow you to restrict access to your profile or personal photos to the people in your network.
  • Only fill  in the mandatory  fields when you sign up for an account.
    • The more  personal information you provide, the more at risk you are  to be targeted for scams and spams.
  • Don’t post sensitive information about yourself online. Always assume that any information you post will be public.
    • This includes your Social Security number, physical address, and credit card and bank account numbers.

Staying Safe Online

  • Only interact  with people you already know and trust, or those recommended by trusted friends.
    • Only add people you know in real life to your network.
    • Don’t arrange a face to face meeting with a stranger you  meet online. No matter how non-threatening they seem,  there is no way to verify the information  they put on their profile pages.

Some social networking sites now allow applications (apps) for games, sharing favorite links, and other functions.

  • Avoid apps that let you post your current location.
    • Broadcasting your location is an easy way for stalkers, sexual predators, and other individuals that pose a threat to your safety to track you down.
    • Broadcasting your location lets potential burglars know when you are on vacation or away from your home for an extended period.
  • Avoid  apps that want to access sensitive information (such as date of birth).
  • Use caution before opening any links
    • If a friend’s account is hacked the link you are about to click may contain malware, viruses, or Internet worms.

If you think that a harasser poses a serious threat to your safety, contact the UCF Police Department immediately at (407) 823-5555 and send an email to the Security Incident Response Team (SIRT) at