<p> To most of us, our tweets seem harmless enough. After all, how much of a security risk can 140 characters or less pose?</p> <p> You may be surprised. Twitter has been used to start affairs, and what you post can <a href="">get you sent to court</a> in more than one way &mdash; but what about your personal data security? Can Twitter be used to <a href="">steal your identity</a>?</p> <p> That depends on you and how you use Twitter. Here are 10 ways to mitigate your risks when you tweet.</p> <p> [<a href="">How&nbsp; to Set Your Smartphone&#39;s Social Privacy Settings</a>]</p>

Keep your personal information off Twitter

<p> If you don&#39;t want your information shared, then don&#39;t share it.</p> <p> &quot;If you want to keep your <a href="">personal information</a> safe on Twitter, don&#39;t put it on Twitter,&quot; said Tim Erlin, a security and risk market strategist for nCircle, a vulnerability-management company in San Francisco.</p> <p> &quot;Everything you post should be something you want your mom, your boss, your co-workers and anyone else to read,&quot; Erlin said. &quot;You can make your Twitter stream private so only people you invite can see it, but the whole point of Twitter is to be public.&quot;</p> <p> If you&#39;re worried about what might already be there, then check out step two.</p>

See what you can see

<p> By taking a look at your Twitter account when you&#39;re not signed, in you can see <a href="">what kind of information</a> might be available to the public.</p> <p> Don&#39;t like what you see? Sign into Twitter and go into Settings by clicking the little icon shaped like a person on the top right of your Twitter page. From there, select Profile and adjust accordingly.</p> <p> If you&#39;re not really looking to share your information with the world, then the next tip is for you.</p>

Set your account to &#39;private&#39;

<p> &quot;You can easily set your Twitter feed to private,&quot; said Megan Nicole O&#39;Neal, marketing communications coordinator at SDA Security in San Diego.</p> <p> From the Settings page, select Account and scroll down to &quot;Twitter privacy.&quot; Select &quot;Protect my tweets.&quot;</p> <p> &quot;This allows only followers whom you approve beforehand to read the contents of your tweets,&quot; O&#39;Neal said. &quot;However, this can limit <a href="">the number of followers you receive</a>, because oftentimes people are wary of following someone they do not know who is set to private.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Staying Safe on Second-String Social Media Sites</a>]</p>

Don&#39;t let unknown applications access your Twitter feed

<p> Twitter&#39;s open interface lets <a href="">dozens of third-party apps</a> for both computers and mobile devices access your feed, and enabling them often takes just one oft-forgotten click. You should revoke access from unknown apps, as well as from any apps you don&rsquo;t use any more.</p> <p> From the Settings page, select Apps. You&#39;ll probably be surprised at how many apps have access to your feed.</p>

Default to secure browsing mode

<p> On the Account page, scroll down to &quot;HTTPS only&quot; and check the box next to &quot;Always use HTTPS.&quot; This will establish <a href="">a secure connection each time you log into Twitter</a>, and may deter some less sophisticated spammers.</p> <p> [<a href="">11 Facebook Privacy Steps to Take Now</a>]</p>

Beware of unknown links

<p> <a href="">Shortened URLs</a> are a necessity within Twitter&#39;s character limits, but because they conceal a Web link&#39;s true destination, they also make much life much easier for spammers and distributors of malicious code.</p> <p> Tweet them out to your followers only if you know where each one goes. Likewise, don&#39;t click on shortened URLs sent to you by people you don&#39;t follow.</p>

Don&#39;t let Twitter broadcast your location, and disable location services on your smartphone

<p> Giving away <a href="">real-time access to your location</a> every time you tweet is a red flag for stalkers, creeps and even burglars, who&#39;d like to know when you&#39;re not home.</p> <p> On Twitter&#39;s Account setting page, de-select &quot;Add a location to my Tweets&quot; under &quot;Tweet location.&quot;</p> <p> Unfortunately, that doesn&#39;t prevent third-party apps, especially smartphone apps, from using Twitter to broadcast your location. To be sure, turn off all location services on your smartphone.</p>

Don&#39;t tweet specific information

<p> &quot;Be careful what you say,&quot; O&#39;Neal said. &quot;Oftentimes, a simple tweet may reveal a lot more than you might think.</p> <p> &quot;For example, tweeting how excited you are for the Britney Spears concert and later posting a picture with the caption &#39;Row 15&#39; lets people know <a href="">EXACTLY where to find you</a>,&quot; she said. &quot;The more common version of this is people &#39;checking into&#39; places like the gym or a restaurant, where [they] will be staying for a length of time.&quot;</p> <p> [<a href="">Look Who&#39;s Stalking: 10 Creepiest Apps for Phones, Facebook</a>]</p>

Don&#39;t direct-message strangers

<p> A direct message to another Twitter user, which is not visible to the outside world, gives you a feeling of intimacy, but it&#39;s a lot like any other email interaction. (Both parties must follow each other on Twitter to enable direct messages.)</p> <p> If you do not <a href="">know or trust that person</a> in the real world enough to tell them your deepest secrets or divulge personal data, then don&#39;t do it via Twitter. Remember, that person may still be basically a stranger to you.</p> <p> So go ahead and tell them how much you love pistachio ice cream, or why your Mac is better than any PC ever made, but keep last names, children&#39;s names and locations out of your conversation. You&#39;ll be more secure, and you&#39;ll still get to bond.</p>

Don&#39;t play games that give away information

<p> Maybe you remember the popular &quot;<a href="">What&#39;s your stripper name</a>?&quot; game that was popular on Twitter a few years ago. Basically, you combined your first pet&#39;s name and the name of the street you grew up on to create something like &quot;Tallulah Sunnyside Way.&quot;</p> <p> It may have seemed cute and innocent to you, but think about it again. Two common password-reset questions used by websites to verify the identity of a user who&#39;s forgotten his password are, &quot;What was the name of your first pet?&quot; and, &quot;What was the name of the street you grew up on?&quot;</p> <p> Anyone viewing the parade of &quot;stripper names&quot; on Twitter would have enough information to take over at least a few online accounts. Don&rsquo;t get fooled by these kinds of games into giving out your precious personal data.</p> <p> [<a href="" target="_blank">10 Best Social Networking Websites</a>]</p>

10 Tips for Staying Safe on Twitter