Facebook users warned over privacy

USERS of social networking web sites are being warned to protect their online privacy.

Suffolk Police say there is a real threat of cyber crime from portals such as Facebook, MySpace and Twitter.

The constabulary is advising web surfers to avoid online stalking, bullying and identify theft by protecting their personal information.

Chief Inspector Kerry Pauling, who is in charge of community safety at Suffolk Police, said: 'Social networking sites represent a real threat of online crime and those using them should be aware of the associated risks, such as disclosure of private information, cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying and also the serious risks of loss of privacy and identity theft.

'By taking a few simple precautions you can greatly reduce your chances of becoming a victim of online crime. Remember, you are in control of how public or how private you want your page to be, so learn how to use the site you have chosen.'

Officers are recommending users be wary about revealing information such as pictures of homes or work places, phone numbers and addresses.

Police are also advising users to:

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• keep profiles private and only allow friends to view them;

• be careful about what images and messages are posted, even among trusted friends;

• report any abusive or threatening behaviour to the service provider;

• block or delete people who are causing problems;

• use a strong password and do not keep a copy of it on a computer;

• not announce holiday dates.