Social Media platforms link many of us to our friends and professional networks. We use them to share photos, catch up and share information. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are increasingly using social media as a tool against us. Here are a few tips to keep you and your family safe when using Social Media:
Using a Nickname –Slightly changing your name on Social Media can be a very easy way to prevent unwanted people from finding you. Consider using a nickname known only to friends, a middle name, or substituting one of your names for your initial.
Check Privacy Options – While not fun, learning and altering the privacy settings of your chosen Social Media can be very useful. Every platform has different controls to allow you to share more or less information and control how you can be found. Remember, Social Media companies benefit from sharing your information, so it’s up to you to set your privacy settings.
Personal Information –Small bits of information such as your birthday, hometown, schools you went to etc may seem like innocent information, but in the wrong hands they could be used to reset your password, access your bank account or steal your identity. Be careful with the information you share or add to your profile, and the information others share about you. Wherever possible provide the least amount of personal information.
Private Posting –Be aware that anything you put on the internet, even in private groups, can be reposted publicly. Once information is posted publicly on the internet, it can be almost impossible to remove.
People You Don’t Know –Never accept people you don’t know to your friends list or professional networks. Often, these ‘random adds’ are bots trying to find and save information from your profile page to spam you later.
Phishing –Just like email, spam, scam and phishing happen in social media messages. Be aware of suspicious links and offers that are too good to be true.
Keep Personal Social Media Personal –Many of us have different personal and professional networks. Be careful about what business information you share on Social Media, and make sure you are aware of your company’s Social Media policy.
Email Address –Consider creating a separate email address for Social Media accounts. Often Social Media platforms will show your email publicly to allow other users to find you. This means spammers and scammers can pull millions of email addresses from social media platforms, and quickly fill your inbox.