How to keep safe and protect yourself on Twitter

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You might not think twice about tweeting personal info but have you thought about who's reading it?

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Plenty of celebrities including Jessie J and Michael Owen have come under fire in past years for tweeting their plans, trips and schedules, leaving them vulnerable to thieves and attackers.

Whether you are a celebrity or not, it is wise to taken certain steps to protect your own safety when using Twitter or other social media sites. This simple guide will help you keep safe and savvy online:

1. Keep it a secret
Never give out personal information such as your address or personal details. Remember that whatever you post, the world can see.

2. Location, location, location
Adding your location is a nice feature – but it reveals where you are, and likewise where you are not (such as at home). Be careful before letting people know your whereabouts.

You can also strip the geotag information hidden in your photos. This little bit of code embedded in your pictures can be read easily with an application that allows people to see exactly where that photo was taken.

An app like deGeo can strip this for you (£0.69, itunes.co.uk)

3. Be careful who you follow back
Look at who people are before you follow back – this can prevent spamming and direct messages.

4. Go private
If you don't want the world to see what you're up to, you can always make your Twitter profile private using the 'protect my tweets' function in settings. This means only people you approve of can see your tweets.

You can also add extra security to your account, by ensuring you have security questions attached when you want to reset your password.

For other social media sites like Facebook – take a minute to double check your privacy settings – what can people see about you? This not only makes sense from a personal safety point of view, but is common sense when applying for jobs as recruiters often look at a person's Facebook as a matter of course.

5. Be link wary
Don't click on links in private messages unless you know the person or were expecting it. This will prevent hackers taking over your account. Anything that looks vague & suspicious like someone messaging you 'OMG, is this you?' or 'Have you seen this?' with a link – it's best just to delete.

6. Think before you tweet
It's so easy to punch something into Twitter and send it out into the public domain. Just take a second before you hit send to think about what you are putting out there.

Do you take social media precautions? Tweet us@handbagcom

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