It's always important to be careful how much information you reveal to other people online. As Valentine's Day nears, this is even more important.

 

Scammers can use e-card scams, social networking, online dating, and various types of chat sites to collect information from people for malicious purposes, such as fraud or identity theft.

 

Tips to help protect your personal information online

 

1. Never give out your personal information in a chat room.

 

For more information, see Safety tips for chat rooms.

 

2. If you receive an e-card from an unknown sender, do not open it.

 

For more information, see How to send and receive e-cards more safely.

 

3. Be careful meeting strangers in person whom you've met online. If you're a parent, insist that your children never meet someone in person whom they've met online.

 

For more tools for parents, see Protect your family from unwanted content and contact.

 

4. Limit the amount of personal information you give to online dating sites. Only share your primary e-mail address with people you know.

 

5. If you're asked to enter or sign up for a nickname, choose a name that doesn't give away your personal information. For example, you might use SavvySue instead of DetroitSue.

 

6. Read the Web site's privacy statement carefully. If something doesn't sound right to you, contact the company with questions before you divulge any personal information.

 

7. Be smart about details in photographs. Photographs can reveal a lot of personal information, including identifiable details such as street signs, house numbers, or your car’s license plate.

 

8. Use Microsoft Phishing Filter to help protect you from Web fraud and the risks of personal data theft.