8 Ways To Stay Safe On Social Media

Social media

posted on Tuesday, April 14, 2020 in Life Tips

Social media platforms are great for staying in touch with family and friends – especially while we practice social distancing.  But remember: cyber criminals and identity thieves are on those platforms, too. Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of their sneaky tactics.

1. Lock down privacy settings. 

Check the settings in your accounts to make sure your phone number and email addresses are hidden from public view. Consider adjusting privacy settings to make your posts visible only to friends or friends of friends, rather than making them public.

2. Be careful what you share.

Never reveal sensitive personal information like your home address, financial information, phone number, etc...  The more you post, the easier it is to have your identity stolen or to help thieves target your home.  If you must give a friend your address - send a text, private message or give them a call.  Also, be mindful about broadcasting when you're traveling for extended periods and your vacant home could become a target.  To avoid posting this inadvertently - check your phone's settings, find location services, and disable them for apps such as Facebook and Instagram.

3. Avoid quizzes and games. 

Currently, there’s a rising trend in quizzes and games going around asking seemingly silly or meaningless questions about yourself such as lists of personal favorites or firsts, photos of cars you’ve owned, mother’s maiden name, the street you grew up on, etc…  While it may seem like harmless fun out of boredom, this info is commonly used in passwords or for security questions, and it’s a goldmine for social engineering thieves. 

4. Be selective with friend requests.

If you don’t know the person, don’t accept their request.  It could be a fake account.

5. Avoid (and report) duplicate friend requests.  

If you receive a request to connect with someone you know, but who you thought was already a friend or follower, double-check your friends-list or ask your friend personally before accepting the invitation. If they are already on your list, chances are good their account has been hacked.

6. Click links with caution.  

Social media accounts are regularly hacked.  Look out for language or content that does not sound like something your friend would post.

7. Don't use social credentials to sign into 3rd party sites. 

Many third-party websites give you the option of registering using Facebook, Google or Twitter credentials instead of setting up new usernames and passwords.  While these shortcuts are tempting, you may be giving the new site more information than you need to.  Worse, if someone hijacks your social login info, they can gain access to these third-party accounts as well.

8. Handle passwords with care. 

Switch up your social media passwords immediately if there's a chance you're the victim of a data breach or you think your account may be hacked. It’s also a good idea to password protect your personal mobile devices like your phone or tablet – which contain access to all your accounts and loads of personal info if it gets lost or stolen.