Know someone who feels the need to share every detail of their life on social media with little or no regard to who might be watching? Could this someone you, or someone close to you, such as a family member or friend? Posts about making big-ticket purchases, leaving for vacation for 3 weeks, or broadcasting their current location can make life easier for identity thieves.
So, what can you do to help make sure you aren’t putting yourself at risk? Consider being aware of the information you are voluntarily sharing and other information your devices might be sharing for you. Check out these 4 tips below!
1.) Review Your Privacy Settings
As social media evolves, so do privacy settings. According to the Better Business Bureau, (BBB), one of the easiest ways to help make sure you’re sharing more safely on social media is to check the privacy settings and policies for the sites you’re using throughout the year, on a regular basis.
2.) Turn Off Location-Based Apps
According to the Federal Trade Commission, most social media apps normally allow users to pinpoint their precise whereabouts with geolocation tags. Therefore, if you haven’t turned the setting off, when you post a status update from your home, you may broadcast your address to the world. This can make it easier for identity thieves to use your address as one of the necessary pieces of financial data to potentially verify and steal your identity. Turn off geolocation on all your apps or websites before posting your thoughts on social media. If you need instructions on how to do this, simply Google the steps based on each application whether it’s for an iPhone, Android, Chrome, etc.
3.) Very Personal Information Should be Kept Offline
While most people KNOW to keep information such as their Social Security numbers private, the growing body of information posted online could be used against you. According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), personal facts such as your full name, date of birth, current employer, names of your family members, and your home address may also make it easier for identity thieves and hackers to make use of this information.
Taking it a step further, even information that we share in passing can also be used by cyber criminals to answer your password retrieval questions. According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, you should also rethink sharing your marital status, name(s) of your pet’s, the schools you attended and even your hometown on social media.
4.) Rethink the Photos You Post
Though it is natural to want to share good news with your networks on social media, just be conscious of how much of it you are sharing. Let’s take getting a new driver’s license for example, if you search the hashtag “driverslicense,” on Instagram, you may see a lot of smiling faces waving that new license, and the personal information on it. So, next time you’re uploading a photo, just take a few moments to make sure that there is no personal information in sight.
Although, it can be tough not to be able to share everything good or bad happening in your life on social media, making sure that these steps are taken may help you limit the risks of having your identity compromised. It’s just better to be safe then sorry when it comes to oversharing online.