While social media may have the appearance of privacy, your online accounts could be revealing more about you than you intended. Robert Siciliano, a personal security expert and CEO of bestIDtheftcompanys.com, offers these tips for staying connected with family and friends while remaining safe in the cyber world.
Log into your accounts manually. Don’t visit social media sites through a link in an email. As legitimate as the email may appear, it could be created by someone who’s looking to get your login credentials in order to take over your account.
Turn off geography-based settings. “Location-based GPS technologies incorporated into social media are perfect tools for stalkers to hone in on their target,” Siciliano says. Don’t let that be you. Would-be burglars also could be watching to see where you post from in order to find out if you’re away from home.
Don’t offer too many personal details. Most online accounts use questions—such as your pet’s name, your birthday or your mother’s maiden name—to verify your identity. Lock your privacy settings to keep strangers from seeing and using these details to reset your passwords.
Refrain from inviting trouble. If there’s any question whether it’s appropriate to post something, don’t. “I’ve seen teachers, professors, students, officials, police and others from just about every walk of life get fired because of words or pictures they’ve posted,” Siciliano says.
Remember, nothing online is 100 percent private. “Many sites are capable of pulling data from the bowels of social media sites, despite any privacy settings you may have in place,” Siciliano says. “And that data can be stored forever, which means that it can come back to bite you long after you’ve forgotten you ever posted it.”