The internet is a powerful tool for sharing knowledge and connecting with distant friends. However, it's also a double-edged sword — the knowledge that's shared with the world might be your sensitive personal information, and those distant “friends” may be looking to track you down for malicious purposes. This may sound unlikely, but crimes related to social media are on the rise.

Therefore, it's always wise to be cautious about the information you disclose on the net. If you're not, one moment of carelessness may come back to bite you years later. An innocent photo on your Facebook page may reveal your street address or the contents of your home, leading burglars to your doorstep. Or a family member might tag you in a post at Disneyland, letting everyone on your friends list know you'll be out of town for a few days.

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You might think, I'm not careless! All my information is restricted to friends only, and I trust everyone on my friends list. Ask yourself: What if one of your friends stays logged into Facebook on his home or work computer? Suddenly everyone in the house (or office) can view your location and private photos through his account.

What if his password is weaker than yours, and his account gets hacked? Any information on your profile could be accessed by criminals halfway across the world, and used to target you for a phishing attack or other forms of social engineering.

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Rather than remaining blissfully ignorant of the security risks of social media, we should carefully consider them and use them as motivation to remain cautious online. The following infographic from CreditSesame shows the potential for social media to compromise your physical security. Click here to download a full-size version of this graphic.

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Now, we're not encouraging you to go full Ted Kaczynski, living in a shed in the woods while shunning all forms of digital communication. Social media can be a nice way to stay in touch with friends and family, grow your business, or even monitor the status of an unfolding disaster. Just keep in mind that any information you put online stays online — be careful what you post and share.

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