4 Keys to Keeping Personal Information Safe on Social Media Websites
Whether its keeping up with long lost friends or networking for business leads, most people today spend at least some time using social media websites. And, while these virtual meeting places may be a great way to stay in touch, they can also be a haven for hackers and identity thieves who are just waiting to claim their next victim.
Know and Manage Your Contacts
Social networks can be used for a number of different purposes – and oftentimes, it can become great fun to create a large group of friends from all walks of life. Old high school buddies, past and current co-workers, and individuals we’ve met throughout the years can all combine exponentially to make up quite a large group.
Yet, while building your network may be considered an accomplishment, it doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the friends in your group are created equal. In this case, it is important to use the tools you have available to manage the information that you share with friends so that it doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
Don’t Give Out Too Many Personal Details
In some cases, you may be required to provide at least some personal information in order to register for a user account or to purchase a product or service. In this case, it is still important to be cautious about just how much information you provide online.
Oftentimes, certain information is requested, but not required. With this in mind, be certain to only offer what is required to in order to complete your transaction. Even when we think we are on a safe and reputable website, hackers can still have a way of infiltrating a system. Therefore, in most cases, it pays to keep personal information just exactly that – personal.
Be Sure That What You Post is Something You Won’t Regret Later
On many social media websites, once something has been posted, it will be there for the duration. This essentially means that what you post online, typically stays online. Therefore, it is essential to think twice before making posts and / or posting photos that you may regret down the line – especially if it is something that can be used against you by an identity thief in the future.
Make sure you don’t share your contact numbers and other personal information on social websites. I took this image from my facebook page where people are giving out their phone numbers (Blurred to prevent misuse).
Watch What Is Posted About You
In addition to keeping yourself from providing too much information, it is also wise to keep tabs on what is posted about you by others – and, if something is posted about you that seems inappropriate or makes you feel uncomfortable, let the person know your feelings as soon as possible.
Certainly, just as with anything else, going back to basics is oftentimes the key to success. With this in mind, remember to keep other online safety tips in check too, such as:
- Using a unique password. A hard to detect password can mean the difference between online safety and vulnerable personal information. Here, it is important to remember to make any and all passwords unique. This means using a combination of both upper and lower case letters, as well as varying capital and lower case letters. Mixing in some symbols can also help to make a password harder to crack. In addition, although it may be easier to remember just one passwords for all of your online accounts, having only one “key” to the doorway of all your information can be hazardous. Therefore, using a different password for all of your online accounts can substantially reduce the chance of an online criminal having free reign over all of your personal domain.
- Deleting suspicious emails. Many people are bombarded on a regular basis with emails claiming that they have won a lottery, been picked for a gift card, or been chosen as the beneficiary of a recently deceased king or queen from a faraway land. When you see any such emails in your inbox – and likewise in your spam folder – the best thing to do is hit the delete button. And by all means, do not respond to even the most legitimate looking request.
- Having a security system in place. Having a good solid security system in place can also help to keep you safe from online viruses, as well as from other types of online threats. Some systems are free, while others charge a monthly or annual fee. In either case, it’s good to have a firewall to protect you just in case.