It’s no secret that leaving your personal details lying around in the public eye can lead to some “misuse” of that information.

A website called Textastophe has been publishing amusing text conversations with various people who have left their phone numbers lying around in public or on the web.

While Textastrophe might be a jocular and light-hearted way of highlighting how public information can fall into the wrong hands, the lessons to be learnt are very sensible indeed.

As the website says Next time you post your phone number in a public place, think again.”

Obviously the real world effect of leaving your personal details in a public place (online or off) can lead to scenarios far more serious than being “pranked” for the web’s amusement. Instead it can result in the loss of private information, endless spam or even identity theft.

Here are five tips to keeping your own personal details private so that you don’t receive unsolicited marketing calls, mail or email:

  • Don’t include your personal number or email on your public social networking profiles.
  • When posting for help or advice in forums (even official ones) don’t leave your number or email for people to contact you.
  • If you want to share your email or other details, try and do it via private messaging if possible.
  • Check that if you are sending an email to someone you don’t know that your email signature doesn’t contain your personal number or home address.
  • If you absolutely must publicly share your email address, break it up so that bots scanning for public email addresses won’t pick it up. For example:  avgblogs*at*avg*dot*com