These days it seems as if everyone has a presence on social media. And it has its pros and cons. While social media allows you to keep up with distant family, makes it easy to plan events and share your favorite memes or inspirational videos with friends, it can also be a threat to your most personal information if you aren’t careful. Your Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois wants you to be able to enjoy social media and stay safe in the process! Take heed to these priceless social media safety tips and pass them along to those you know and love.
Be Selective when it comes to the friends you accept, the information you share and even the photos that you post. When you get a friend request, take a couple minutes to sift through the profile the request was sent from. Even if you recognize the name and the face in the profile picture, you’ll want to make sure their profile is legitimate. Verify that the spelling of the name is correct, and be wary of profiles that have a suspiciously low number of post, or posted content that simply doesn’t seem like it would come from them.
Stay especially careful and selective about the personal information you share on your own profile, and know how your information will be used. Many social media sites allow you to add information like you e-mail address, phone number, work history and much more. Be smart about what you decide to share. Sharing too much can open you up to the risk of identity theft and even give away crucial clues to what your passwords may be for your most sensitive accounts.
Additionally, keep all of those awesome vacation photos and status updates to yourself—at least until you arrive back home. Whether you’re just out for the night, away for the weekend, or on a week-long all-inclusive tropical trip, you never want to announce when you’ve left your home unattended. Save those posts for when you’re back and never share dates or times of when you are leaving and when you plan to return.
Be careful what you click and make sure that you type the address of the social networking site you wish to visit directly into your browser rather than clicking on links through email or other websites. You could run the risk of entering your login information into a fake website crafted to steal your information.
Use the same care when in comes to links within any social media sites. BBB Accredited, Assurance Agency, Ltd. reminds us, “While social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn seem to be secure sites, remember that LinkedIn had a major security breach just last year. Any third-party content contained on those sites also has the potential to contain malicious software. Every link, application or advertisement could breach your security…Due to link-shortening services, which are especially popular on Twitter, it’s not always clear where a link is taking you. These condensed links can direct [you] to malicious Internet sites that extract personal data.”
Set up alerts, like the ones BBB Accredited, Facebook offers. This way, you’ll be notified if someone tries to login to your account from a device that Facebook doesn’t recognize. You’ll also be notified of what device tried logging in and where it’s located. You can find directions on how to set up this feature on Facebook’s safety tools page.
It’s also a good idea to know what your online presence looks like. A quick Google search of your name will show you how you appear on social networking sites and alert you to what personal information is available to others. Make it a point to keep up with new features on any sites you use, as well. If you come across any fishy businesses or offers while one social media, help us investigate by reporting it to BBB Scam Tracker.