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Be careful what you share on vacation

(NC) It's tempting to post lots of details about a winter getaway online, and in real-time, but be aware that you aren't the only one to have discovered how amazing it can be to share photos and information online and on social networks.

Cyber criminals like to "get social" too, but their definition of that term is to help themselves to your personal information, among other things. These criminals pretend to be people they aren't and you can give them access to your personal information, location, and activities without even knowing it.

And that is just one threat. You can also put yourself at risk, by sharing comments or pictures that may come back to haunt you and your reputation. Here are some tips to help you share with care:

• Limit the personal information you share online to only what's necessary. Be careful using your full name, contact information, home address, phone numbers, email address, last names of friends or relatives, age, birth date, or other personal information.

• Check the privacy and security settings of your social network and use them to control who sees what. Most have default settings which likely provide more access than you'd like. You can adjust settings to the highest possible level to protect your information and control who can see personal details (rather than “everyone” or “friends of friends”).

• Be cautious about geotagging photos or details in photographs that you post or share. Photographs can reveal a lot of personal information when there are clearly identifiable details such as street signs, license plates on cars, or the name of a school on clothing and geotag settings can reveal location details.

• Finally, don't announce to the world that you are on vacation. You might as well leave the door unlocked and welcome sign out front for thieves. Save those updates and photos to share when you return!

Protect while you connect. More information is available online at

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