First, read the website’s privacy policy:

Privacy policies—which are commonly outlined in a website’s privacy statement—should clearly explain what data the website gathers about you, how it is used, shared, and secured, and how you can edit or delete it. The website’s privacy statement should be readily available for you to review. For example, a link to the Microsoft Privacy Statement appears at the bottom of this and every page on No privacy statement? Take your business elsewhere.

Don’t share more than you need to:

  • Don’t post anything online that you would not want made public.
  • Minimize details that identify you or your whereabouts. Sharing details about an event you’re attending might seem harmless, but you’re actually letting people know where you are and that you’re not at home.
  • Keep your account numbers, user names, and passwords secret.
  • Only share your primary email address or Instant Message (IM) name with people you know or with reputable organizations. Avoid listing your address or name on internet directories and job-posting sites.
  • Enter only required information—often marked with an asterisk (*)—on registration and other forms.
  • Check app settings, especially on your phone. Be careful about allowing apps to access your location information, your photos, the camera, or the microphone.

Choose your friends wisely:

Be mindful when adding contacts or friends on social networks. If possible, verify with the person directly if the account is authentic. If you are unsure you are adding the right person, try to limit the information that person can view on your profile.

Choose how private you want your profile or blog to be:

Review your website settings and preferences to manage who can see your online profile or photos, how people can search for you, who can view your posts and make comments, and how to block unwanted access by others. Be sure to review the privacy settings for your favorite social networks to ensure you’re not sharing more than you intend to.