The last five days just made the summer of 2009, perhaps, the best summer of my life. I just attended my 20 year high school reunion and my ribs still hurt from all the laughs.
I graduated from Coeur d’Alene High School in 1989. After spending the first 18 years of my life there, I decided I needed to leave Idaho as soon as possible. To see the world, of course. I’m not sure what happened, but my version of ‘the world’ appeared to be Washington State. After stints in Spokane, Pullman, Olympia, and Seattle I landed in Kirkland in 2006. All that time in Washington left me little time to return to Idaho. In fact, I could count the number of times I’d been back on one hand until last week.
I was pretty self-conscious and awkward in high school. I almost always said the wrong thing. It turns out some of my classmates felt the same way about their misspent youth, too. Most of the people I spoke to, including myself, were a little nervous about coming to the reunion. But once we all started confessing to nerves, showing off the kids, and making fun of our 1987 mullet cuts and Members Only jackets, we broke the ice and let the good times roll. For three days we had a blast reminiscing and no one wanted the fun to end.
Since we’ve all returned to everyday life and left the reunion awesomeness behind, the Class of ’89 has continued to connect in that friendly little online haven so many of us are addicted to: Facebook. I’ve added at least 20 new friends to my Facebook account in the last 48 hours and love the photo albums and crazy comments splashed all over my page.
With all the fun I’ve been having, it took me a couple days to remember that while social networking sites are great fun, they can be fertile soil for identity thieves. Tweaking a few things on your account and managing the content on your profiles can go far to deter a thief from stealing your identity and keep the socializing fun.
- Limit the Personal Data: If you’re someone who likes to post your birthday, your kids’ birthday, your phone number or your address be careful. If you’ve allowed someone you don’t know well to become a ‘friend’ or ‘follower’ you put yourself at risk. Avoid posting your personally identifying information.
- Check Your Settings: Surprisingly, many people unintentionally allow their social networking profiles to be visible to anyone. Review profile protection policies of the social networking sites you use to insure you’re using all the safety features they can offer you. This prevents your friends’ friends’ friends from seeing your information.
- Can You Trust Your Friends? : How careful are your social networking friends with their passwords? If they unintentionally compromise their password’s security, they’ve exposed you and all your profile content to whoever can access their profile. Assume this will happen someday and post your content accordingly.
- Don’t Announce Your Plans: Do you really want everyone to know you and the family will be in Boston for the weekend? With your belongings and your home and your tax information unattended? Probably not. Don’t use social networking sites to advise criminals how long they have to steal your stuff.
- Check Your Credit: AnnualCreditReport.com will get you each of the three free credit reports you’re entitled to annually. This is a great way to monitor what’s on your report, and identify any compromises to your credit report.