Posts Tagged ‘privacy settings’

Stealth Mode on Facebook

Posted on: January 26th, 2011 by

Eric L. Bach CPA - Rockville, MDI’m sure at one point or another, we have all thought about deleting our social networking accounts, but this day in age, that is virtually impossible.  I’m sure everyone is well aware that Facebook has had its history of privacy scandals.  CEO Mark Zuckerberg is constantly trying to push what privacy means in the 21st century, but how available should we all be on the Internet?  Last week, Facebook announced on its Developers blog that it was making it possible for third-party applications to gain access to users’ mobile phone numbers and addresses.  By early Monday morning the Facebook team had dialed back the change until further notice.

Some of the privacy issues have been just too much for users, resulting in cancelled accounts.  But more and more organizations are joining the Facebook Connect network and incorporating the site’s development tools into their own.  It’s getting to the point where you’re at a disadvantage if you don’t have a Facebook account; you can use it to log in with the same username and password on more than two million sites; it’s not just for checking in on your cousin’s newest baby pictures.  So, here’s the trick: Go into  “Stealth” mode – be nearly invisible.  Nobody will be able to view your photographs, see your activity or where you’ve checked in except for existing friends — but still have an account to use around the web.

If you’re ready to move into Facebook stealth mode, follow these simple steps:

• Visit, log in to your profile and click “Account” in the top-right corner.  Choose “Privacy Settings”

• From the “Privacy Settings” page, click on “View Settings” to see who can search for you, send messages to your account, see your education and work settings and more. Change all of these drop-down menus to “‘Friends Only”

• Return to the “Privacy Settings” page and choose “Customize Settings” near the bottom of the page.  This new page will load a number of different privacy options, but you’ll want to click through each one and change the setting to “Only Me” so that nobody else can see your Facebook activity.

• Stay on the “Customize Settings” page and scroll down to “Things Others Share”:  Here, you’ll want to edit and disable settings so that your friends are unable to write on your wall, comment on posts and check you in to places.

• Return to the “Privacy Settings” page and, under “Apps and Websites” in the bottom-left corner, select “Edit Your Settings”:  This page shows all of the third-party websites and applications that you have given access to some of your Facebook information.  If you see anything on this list that you want to remove, just click to remove it from the list.

• Stay on the “Apps and Websites” page, scroll down to “Instant Personalization” and select “Edit Settings”:  Uncheck the box at the bottom of this page to block other websites from accessing your Facebook interests.  Select “Confirm” when a pop-up asks you if you’re sure you want to disable this option.

• Return to the “Apps and Websites” page, scroll down to “Public Search” and select “Edit Settings”:  To keep search engines from finding your Facebook profile, uncheck the box on this new screen.

What You Should Keep Off Facebook

Posted on: September 30th, 2010 by

Financial Planning - Rockville, MD

The whole social networking phenomenon has millions of Americans sharing their photos, favorite songs and details about their class reunions on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and dozens of similar sites.  But there are a handful of personal details that you should never say if you don’t want criminals, cyber or otherwise, to rob you blind.  At least by now, most people know that those drunken party pictures could cost them their jobs. But don’t think that you can’t enjoy networking and sharing photos, just know that sharing some information puts you at risk.

Your Birth Date and Place

Sure, you can say what day you were born, but if you provide the year and where you were born too, you’ve just given identity thieves a key to stealing your financial life.  A study done by Carnegie Mellon showed that a date and place of birth could be used to predict most, and sometimes all of the numbers in your Social Security number.

Vacation Plans

There may be a better way to say “Rob me, please” than posting something along the lines of: “Count-down to Maui! Two days and Ritz Carlton, here we come!” on Twitter.  But it’s pretty hard to think of one.  Just post the photos on Facebook when you return, if you like.

Home Address

Do I have to elaborate?  A study recently released by the Ponemon Institute found that users of Social Media sites were at greater risk of physical and identity theft because of the information they were sharing.  Some 40% listed their home address on the sites; 65% didn’t even attempt to block out strangers with privacy settings.  And 60% said they weren’t confident that their “friends” were really just people they know.


You may hate your job; lie on your taxes; or be a recreational user of illicit drugs, but this is no place to confess.  Employers commonly peruse social networking sites to determine who to hire and, sometimes, who to fire.  One study done last year estimated that 8% of companies fired someone for “misuse” of social media.

Password Clues

If you’ve got online accounts, you’ve probably answered a dozen different security questions, telling your bank or brokerage firm your mother’s maiden name; the church you were married in; or the name of your favorite song.  Got that same stuff on the information page of your Facebook profile? You’re giving crooks an easy way to guess your passwords.

Risky Behaviors

You take your classic Camaro out for street racing, soar above the hills in a hang glider, or smoke like a chimney?  Insurers are increasingly turning to the web to figure out whether their applicants and customers are putting their lives or property at risk.  So far, there’s no efficient way to collect the data, so cancellations and rate hikes are rare.  But the technology is fast evolving and insurance companies are responding.  Don’t get yourself into trouble.