Social Media Can Damage More Than Your Reputation
With so many of us using social media, there are more opportunities than ever to steal identities or commit online fraud.
When the news broke in December 2019 that 267 million Facebook users may have had their details left open to hackers, it became evident that protection against social media fraud is becoming more important than ever.
The personal information we reveal on Instagram and Twitter, and the photos and videos we share on sites like TikTok and YouTube, can be used in a variety of malicious ways.
Most of us enter sensitive information—our full names, relationship status, location, hobbies and interests—without thinking twice. In addition to the information you share on your page, what you Like, Share, and the social media groups you belong to can be used to steal identities, access accounts, and create fake profiles.
As long as you use social media, you’re going to be tracked, but there are some things we can do to protect ourselves on social media:
- Choose friends carefully
We all grew up with the warning, “Don’t talk to strangers.” It’s harder to tell who’s a stranger on social media, but the same rule applies. Use strong privacy settings to keep your information from being seen by strangers, and only accept friend requests from people you know in real life.
- Don’t overshare.
Be protective of your own privacy and that of your friends and family. Never share personal information like your address and birth date, year of graduation, or your email address. Post vacation photos after the vacation so you don’t advertise that your home is empty. Consider deleting social media apps from your devices so your location is not available in real-time.
- Be careful what you click.
If an unusual message or unexpected ad pops up on your social media account, think before you click on it. If in doubt, get a reality check from a trusted friend or family member.
- Report abuse.
Cyber-bullying happens to people of all ages. It often involves hijacking an account or creating a dummy account with someone’s pictures and content. If you’re harassed or threatened online, block that person on social media and report it to a friend or family member, as well as law enforcement.
- Monitor your online identity.
Consider an identity theft protection service that will monitor the use of your online information on the Internet black market or “dark web.”