Facebook: The dangers of posting personal information

TULSA, Okla. - Social media keeps us in touch with friends and family, but police caution that what may seem like innocent information you're sharing on Facebook could be putting you at risk.

Andrea Miller graduated beauty school seven months ago and just started at a salon.

"I'm just kind of getting my foot in the door. This just kind of fell in my lap, and it's a really great place to start," said Miller.

Starting means building her client list. To help get that list going, she uses "free advertising" by getting the word out on Facebook.

"Give them just information about the salon. 'Come in. We have discounts today'," said Miller.

Miller also uses Facebook for her other job. She encourages people to go to the bar where she works. She not only lets people know about specials going on at either job, she also lets people know when she's there by "checking in."

When you check in on Facebook, it shows up on your profile page and says where you are currently. It shows a map of the location, too. While Miller said it's a great business tool, police recommend that you don't check-in at all.

"You're telling everybody that I'm not home, or we're not home," said Sergeant Malcolm Williams with the Tulsa Police Department Cybercrimes Unit.

Williams said that can make you vulnerable to becoming a burglary victim.

Miller's home was burglarized. She doesn't think that checking-in on Facebook was tied to it, but can't be sure.

Plus, there's also a concern about letting people know when you are home too.

"Well, I was checking-in at my house, and I noticed that there was an exact map of where I was at. It was actually pinpointed. There was a dot. I just kind of felt weird about that," said Miller.

Police said Miller has the right idea about keeping your private life private on Facebook, especially when it comes to letting people know exactly where you live.

"Who is to say that even going to your settings and only making what you post available to those close friends of yours, that you don't open yourself up to being a victim as far as to someone that you thought was a friend," said Williams.

In fact, Miller recommends you go one step further.

He said you shouldn't post a profile picture of yourself. Instead, he says you should make your profile picture your pet or the logo of your favorite sports team because people may use your picture and claim it is them.

"We recently had a young lady who went to a party here and a gentleman came up to her and say, 'Hey. Why haven't you called me back? You know, I've been talking to you,' and she had never seen this guy before and said, you know, 'What are you talking about?'" said Miller.

It turns out another person was using the woman's profile pic and acting as if she were her.

As for Miller, she maintains social media is a great way to get clients in for the up and coming stylist.

"Create events on Facebook. Invite people to our events in both places, and it's worked great," she said.

But like anything, she said proceed with caution.

"Just be careful," she said.

For Facebook safety tips click on these links:
http://tinyurl.com/3gw68qm
http://tinyurl.com/39e3kjh

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