Everyone wants to stay safe online, and with it seemingly becoming an ever-increasing topic on the news of how people are more and more vulnerable to online fraudsters and having their personal information stolen, it is easy to feel anxious when using the internet.
Especially when it comes to social media. Social media is a place for you to share your life with family, friends, and anyone else who can find you, but by sharing your life through updates and pictures, you can be inadvertently putting yourself at greater risk in regards to keeping your personal information, online and off, safe.
However, before you delete all your accounts, there are steps you can follow when using social media to keep yourself as protected as possible, and without worry – check out our guide below to help you!
1) Keep Sensitive Information Minimal
Literally, any information someone can use to steal from you, commit fraud, or use against you, keep it offline. You might be excited about that concert at the weekend, but by posting your tickets, someone now has the numbers they need to make a copy and get in before you, leaving you outside dealing with security.
That new expensive watch you bought is a classic, and we know you worked hard in order to buy it, but you are essentially advertising to potentially wrong people that you have things worth stealing. This includes all luxury items like cars, electronics, and accessories; posting pictures insights jealousy and you’ll be shocked at how many people can turn to opportunists who are willing to steal your possessions under the right circumstances.
Don’t post screens shots that contain your phone number, email address, passport, bank cards, home address or anything of the like; particularly if you have an open account, you have no idea who is collecting your information or what they can do with it. Always be vigilant with what you are willing to share with the internet.
2) Don’t Click Strange Links
You might get sent links every now and then through your online messages from friends and family that lead to funny videos or cute pictures, and that’s fine. But if you receive a message containing a link from someone you don’t know, an account that looks fraudulent, or the link looks like spam, do not click it.
The small possibility that the link is genuine is not worth the risk of having your phone or computer hacked or receiving a virus, simply delete the message and block the user.
3) Don’t Respond to Unknown Emails
A huge way for the wrong kind of people to gain access to your information is the send you spam emails. These emails might look like they are from a real company, and they’ll be asking for your user name and password, or asking you to confirm your bank details under the pretense that you have a subscription that is due for renewal, or something similar.
Again, just ignore them, don’t reply, and don’t give any information. Real companies do not ask for this kind of information over an email, if at all, so mark it as spam and don’t worry about it.
4) Keep Your Profile Closed
One of the best ways to keep yourself safe on social media is to keep your account private. Every platform gives you the option to keep your account limited so that only your friends and family, or people that you specify can see your page. This is a great solution and ensures that the only people who can see your information are people that you know and trust.
5) Don’t Post Your Location
On posts and stories, there is always the option to add your current location. Well, don’t. People don’t need to know your location, and it is unsafe to let people know where you are.
For example, you post a story that includes your location which is a few hours from your home. Now, anyone who knows where you live will know your house is empty for at least the next few hours, and you could come home to your home having been broken in.
6) Use Spokeo When Online Shopping
Selling online has become a huge part of social media, it is very normal nowadays for people to shop for day to day things on social media, but you may also hear a lot of horror stories of people being scammed by the seller or worse.
However, with Spokeo, you can shop online with complete peace of mind. Spokeo is an app that uses a reverse lookup to show you all the information on a particular person, and all you need is their phone number or email address.
If you are thinking of buying from an online seller, it is normal for you to ask for their phone number. Once you have this, put it into Spokeo’s phone number search, and it could do a reverse search for you.
You could then be shown all the personal information available on this person, such as previous convictions or any criminal reports, and you can know without a shadow of a doubt whether you can trust this seller or not. Spokeo is the easiest way to check the background of someone just by simply using the phone number lookup, and will go a long way to ensure your safety online.
Social media can seem like an intimidating world, and it is easy to feel anxious at the information you are putting out there, or the people who interact with you. However, by following the steps in our guide, you will be the safest you can be, while still enjoying all the positives of the internet.