Friday, October 13, 2017

Staying Safe On Social Media

Social media sites are a big part of life for adults and children, but users need to take some responsibility for their own safety while signing up for and using those sites. According, more than 80 percent of web-initiated crimes involve a social media platform, and about 20 percent of adults who are active on social media have “complained” about being a victim of cybercrime. Criminals who seize upon the mistakes or oversights of people active on social media most often commit burglary, identify theft and other crimes.

Anyone who signs up to use a social media site should do so with at least some basic safety issues in mind.

Avoid over-sharing private information

Social media sites ask their users for a lot of personal information when they sign up. While some fields require you to provide certain details about you, others don’t – and you should feel free to leave those blank. Other ideas to consider:

·      If possible, don’t provide a full address
·      Stay general about where you live – disclose an area, county or state instead of city
·      Avoid providing your phone number
·      Don’t use a site if you are uncomfortable providing all of the “required” information

Choosing and protecting your password

Every site you sign up for will require a password when logging in (and you should make a habit of logging out after every session if not often). Here are a few other tips:

·      Create a long password that includes special characters
·      Don’t use the same password everywhere
·      Use two-factor authorization to sign on whenever a site makes this available, and be alerted when an account is accessed
·      Make sure any linked email addresses also have secure passwords
·      Change your password every few months
·      Use an online password management tool to create safe and unique passwords, and to store them

Customize your privacy settings

Once you begin using social media sites, you will already be using their default settings for privacy. Locate those settings and determine on your own how much to share. Topics to look into:

·      Settings allowing public or private access to your accounts
·      Whether personal information like your birthday, current location and workplace are being made public
·      Be aware of what other apps or websites are “authorized” to share your information or site activity
·      Know if and how your contacts are being shared by a social media site

A few more things to consider

·      Don’t tag or post your location while on vacation – it could tip off criminals that your home is currently unoccupied.

·      If you are providing a lot of personal information online through social media, consider limiting access to only users you know.

·      Log out of your accounts after every session, especially when using a shared computer at places like hotels and libraries.

·      Don’t share your social security number (not even the last four digits); birth date; home address; home phone number; any bank or credit card information; PIN numbers; and even the state where you were born.

·      Learn how social media sites use your personal information and your posts.

·      Don’t use computers at work to engage in social media activities