We’ve spoken in some length about the importance of safeguarding your information when shopping online and generally browsing the web. But what about social media? This is the latest craze and as such, fraudsters are starting to turn their attention to Twitter and Facebook to dupe unwitting victims.

Personal privacy tips for social media

Social media is everywhere and the chances are you have accounts on multiple websites. From Twitter and Facebook to MySpace and Instagram, people use these social media accounts to connect with friends, share videos and upload images. However, the rise in popularity of social media means you should be on guard.

If you want to keep your personal information safe when using social media websites, take advice from these tips:

• Take caution with private messaging links

Just because a private message claims to be from a friend, doesn’t necessarily mean they sent it. In fact, a common social media scam is to infect one user’s account and then send out multiple messages to all friends, advising them to click the link attached. Do so with caution though, as it could very well result in your account being infiltrated. Without clicking the link, hold your cursor over it and more information will be displayed at the bottom left of your webpage – This should help you determine if it’s safe to follow.

• Be careful what you post online

Security questions help you to access your account if you’ve forgotten any of the usual login details (username or password). Usually you’ll be required to set a secret answer to a question only you’ll know. Avoid using commonly known information or personal things you’ve posted in the past – This can include birthdays, mother’s maiden name, hometown or even first pet’s name. A hacker trying to access your account could activate the secret question and type in the correct answer

• Don’t click through from webpages or emails

Say you’re trying to access Facebook. Always type the full address into your browser rather than clicking through from an email. The email or webpage could be used for phishing and by entering your login details, you’ll quickly lose access to this social media.

• Don’t accept all friend requests

Your social networking should be reserved for friends, family or at least people you know. Avoid accepting requests from random strangers, as these could be fake accounts designed for phishing purposes. If a stunningly attractive female adds you, don’t take this the wrong way – But they’re probably not interested.

• Treat all posts as a permanent Internet footprint

Even by later deleting posts, the chances are they’ll still remain online in some capacity. Therefore, don’t expect to post something you can later remove. Photos and messages can be saved and printed – so avoid posting anything you could regret later on.

• Watch out for social media add-ons

There are plenty of games and add-ons to take advantage of with social media, but there’s the chance some could be criminals trying to access your personal data. Don’t allow applications to post on your account or share details.

• Educate your children on the dangers

If you have children, make sure to take the tips included throughout this resource to educate them on the dangers of shopping online and using social media. Help them to use these websites safely, without compromising their own personal details.