Remove These 5 Things From Facebook Right Now

Don't make things easy for the bad guys

Swirling collage of faces into blackhole
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Many of us share a ton of personal information with others via our Facebook profiles and timelines. Could any of this information be potentially harmful if it fell into the wrong hands? The answer is yes. 

1. Your Birth Date

"Happy Birthdays" are nice and all that, but listing this tidbit of information helps would-be identity thieves gather one of the three to four pieces of the puzzle they need to steal your identity. Is helping your friends remember when your birthday is so they can leave an impersonal "happy birthday" on your timeline worth having your identity stolen?

If you absolutely can't stand not having your birthday out there for your friends to see, at least remove the year to make things a little harder for ID thieves. 

2. Your Home Address

You're taking a pretty big risk by listing your home address on your Facebook profile. If you "checked in" somewhere while on vacation, thieves will know that you're not at home and they'll also know exactly where to find your house since you listed it in your profile.

Don't rely on "friends only" permissions to keep your address safe from harm, as one of your friends may have left their Facebook profile logged in at a shared computer in a library or cyber cafe where any stranger could potentially view your profile from his/her unsecured account. It's best to leave your address completely out of your Facebook profile. 

3. Your Real Phone Number

Much like your home address, your personal phone number could potentially reveal additional information about your location. If you want your friends to be able to get a hold of you via telephone, consider using a free Google Voice phone number as a go-between so that you can route incoming calls to your "real" phone number without giving that number out. 

4. Your Relationship Status

"It's complicated": What does that even mean? Well, your stalker might think that it means they have the green light to resume stalking you since you changed your status from "in a relationship." It may also help creepy folks using the scary Facebook Graph Search tool to find you as a potential target for their affection.

Is this something you would feel comfortable divulging to a complete stranger? If not, just leave it out of your profile altogether. 

5. Work-Related Information

You may be very proud to be an employee of Company XYZ, but that company may not want its employees to put company-related info on Facebook. Your innocent status post about how excited you are to be working on an upcoming product or project might give your competitors an edge if they are trolling social media searching for competitive information. 

If you have your company information in your profile, then you may be seen as a representative of that company, and your boss might not appreciate that association, especially if you've posted an embarrassing drunken photo with you wearing a shirt with your company's logo on it.

In addition to leaving the above information out of your profile, you should periodically review your Facebook privacy settings to see if Facebook has changed any of your settings to something more public than you are comfortable with.