For most of us on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, and other social sites we aren’t too concerned about safety. Well maltreatment, pedophiles, stalking, and other crimes are now a concern social networkers should have. Formerly I have been pretty open on my Facebook page, although there is a complete difference between being open and being unwise. Here are 5 ways to protect yourself and your identity.

1. Keep Private Info to Yourself

Individuals don’t need to know your personal information. Never put your social security number, address, and phone number out there. Only give it to people you know personally. Also, be choosy about the people you add. You never know who may turn out to be a hacker, stalker, or someone trying to pinch your identity. Also consider using a user name that isn’t your actual name. And don’t tweet where you are because that makes you easy to follow or even break into your house.

2. Be wary of Strangers
Although this might seem a little elementary, there’s nothing wrong with a reminder course. Some people that might seem like friends could in reality be spammers that just want to hijack your account. Or they might just want to get traffic to their links. If you aren’t acquainted with them, and your friends don’t know them, don’t add them.

3. Odd Behavior
If friends on social sites seem to be acting peculiar, don’t accept gifts from them or open their messages. may have hacked into their system so who you thought was a friend really isn’t. So, if you have a friend pushing “muenster cheese is the best” but you know they’re a vegan. Then it’s probably a warning that you shouldn’t click on the URL. It could be a malicious program that will mess up your computer.

4. Shortened URLs
A number of URLs for web site addresses are really long and consequently by using tools like bit.ly you can have a link with a shortened URL. While these may be handy, they can also allow scammers and spammers the power to hide where you are actually going. If it’s possible make sure to preview the URL prior to going on it. An easy rule is that if you can’t observe where the link is going, don’t click on it.

5. Understand your Secrecy Options
All of these social media tools allow you to modify your private security settings to a particular point. Make sure that you evaluate and regulate them to the uppermost privacy setting they allow. However, don’t set the settings so great that the tools don’t work properly. Many of these settings are not the default so make sure that you modify them so some random stranger can’t find your data through the search engine. If you dislike or are concerned about some of the privacy settings on the site, then don’t use it. Look for a different site that meets your privacy protection standards. Frequently examine and improve your browser privacy settings.

Social sites can be awesome. You can reconnect with old friends, improve existing relationships, and at the same time make new friends. Just be cautious about what information you are putting up there, and take into account these 5 tips in order to keep yourself and your identity safe and sound.