10 Things You Should Never Post on Social Networks

What you post could put your personal safety at risk

Illustration of man holding laptop computer

Turnbull / Getty Images

We share so many details of our daily lives online, but where should we draw the line on what we reveal about ourselves, our families, and our friends? Some personal information is best not to share online. Here are ten personal details to avoid publishing on social networks.

Your Full Birthdate

Chairs arranged around dining table in kitchen during birthday party at home
Klaus Vedfelt / Getty Images

While you may love getting loads of birthday wishes posted by your friends on your Facebook Timeline, having your birthdate in your profile may provide scammers and identity thieves with one of the key pieces of information needed to steal your identity and open up accounts in your name.

Your Current Location

You Are Here Marker On Street Road
 Gaël Rognin / Getty Images

Many people don't realize when they post a status update or a tweet, they may also be revealing their current location through geotagging. Giving out your location information can be risky because it tells potential thieves you're not at home. Depending on your privacy settings, an innocent tweet from your vacation spot might be the green light criminals are waiting to rob your house.

Pictures of Children Tagged With Their Names

Children with food
Mifflin / Getty Images

This is a sensitive topic. We all want to protect our kids, but many of us post hundreds of name-tagged pictures of our children online for the world to see. The problem this presents is you can't be sure only your friends can see these pictures. What if your friend has their phone stolen or logs into Facebook from the library and forgets to log out? You can't rely on the "Friends only" setting. Assume everything posted is going to be public and don't post anything you wouldn't want the world to access.

If you must post pictures of your children, remove any geotag information, and avoid using their real names in the picture description. Your true friends know their names — no need to label them. The same goes for tagging pictures of your friends' kids.

Your Home Address

House and driveway in suburban neighborhood
 Mint Images / Getty Images

Again, you never know who might be looking at your profile. Don't post where you live, as you're making things easy for the bad guys. There's a lot a criminal can do using just your address.

Your Personal Phone Number

iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C
Janitors / CC BY 2.0 / Flickr

While you may want friends to contact you, your real phone number can fall into the wrong hands through a social networking site. It's possible your location could be narrowed down by someone using a reverse phone number lookup tool, which is freely available on the internet.

An easy way to allow people to contact you by phone without giving them your phone number is by using a Google Voice phone number as a go-between.

Your Relationship Status

A pair of gold wedding rings symbolize marriage. Learn the sociological definition here.
Jasmin Awad / Getty Images

Posting your relationship status could present encouragement to a potential stalker, and even let them know you're more likely to be home alone.

Pictures With Geotags

aerial panorama on the nature landscape and small village in the mountains with a geotag pin location
 Михаил Руденко / Getty Images

There's no better road map to your current location than a geotagged picture. Your phone might be recording the location of all the pictures you take without you even knowing it. You can remove geotags from your pictures, though, to keep this extra information being shared with them.

Your Vacation Plans

Family holding hands and walking in autumn park
Milton Brown / Getty Images

When you post your detailed vacation plans, itinerary, geotagged vacation photos, or live video, you're all but announcing to the world that no one's at your home and there won't be anyone there for a while. Even a "check-in" at a fancy restaurant reveals that your home is empty.

Vacation photos are great to share but wait until you're safely home before uploading those pictures or posting about your vacation online.

You can disable Facebook location tracking to avoid accidentally checking in and sharing information you don't want to.

Embarrassing Things You Don't Want Your Employer or Family to See

Friends Toasting Beer In Restaurant - stock photo taken In Forli, Italy
 Mirko Vitali / Getty Images

Before you post anything online, think to yourself: Would you want your boss or family members to see this? If not, don't post it. Even if you post something and delete it, that doesn't mean someone didn't take a screenshot of it before you had the chance to take it down. Protect your online reputation, because more than just your friends may snoop your online presence.

Your Current Job or Work-Related Details

Over shoulder close up of male office worker looking at laptop in office
Stefano Gilera / Getty Images

Talking about work-related tidbits on social networks is a bad idea. Sensitive details revealed innocently could be a violation of a nondisclosure agreement (NDA). Even a status update about how upset you are about missing a deadline on an important project might provide valuable information to competitors that could be leveraged against your company.

If your company doesn't have training around this topic, you can take the initiative to create a security awareness training program, earning the appreciation of coworkers, supervisors, and executives while protecting your organization.