With the growing prevalence of social media, it is important to understand its reach and scope. Posting a photo or video of you, or friends and family can have serious consequences. Below is a discussion of common pitfalls and respective advice that can help, if we keep them in mind.
Do you know all your friends and followers on social media? It is tempting to accept social media requests to inflate your social media status. Imagine accepting a total stranger’s “follow” or “friend request” without restricting what they have access to. You have just voluntarily offered this potentially dangerous person access to your personal information. Make sure you know each person who is your “friend” or “follower.”
Think before you post or update your status. Do you really need to show off where you are at that specific moment? Remember that every time you post or update your status, you are sharing vital personal information to all your “followers” or “friends.” Information you post or share online such as page likes, hobbies, food, people you tag or locations you tag may seem harmless to you. In the hands of a hacker or scammer, more information about you means crafting a more personalized phishing attack that could end with a mildly annoying malware infection or with a devastating identity theft.
A unique, private password for your social media accounts is a must. Make sure your password cannot be located within your social media postings. Maybe you use a password that includes a family member, friend or pet’s name, your birthday, a favorite vacation destination or the name of your high school. If you mentioned this information publicly in your social media posts, or account information, your account is highly at risk.
If something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Be suspicious of emails or posts offering insanely great deals. Review the email address of the sender to see if you know the person or the company sending you the offer. Don’t click on the offer’s link as you may be subject to phishing attacks. Go directly to the website. If you don’t know the person or the company and are not expecting the offer, delete the email. If you keep getting emails from the same email or the same strange domain, blacklist them so they never appear in your inbox.
Keep vacations private. Posting your vacation plans for the next few weeks is an invitation for burglars to pay a visit to your home. If you must share pictures on social media about your vacation, do it after you return.