By Nicole Raye, Digital Content Editor, G.I Jobs, Military Spouse, STEM
Social media and networking has changed how we stay connected with family, friends and other even business associates. While Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others are a great tool for sharing our lives, they may also present security threats.
You shouldn’t stop using these sites all together, but you should be cautious about what you post. Here are a few threats from social media and how to avoid them.
Update Privacy Settings
It’s one of the most important questions we should ask ourselves when sharing infomation on social media: how well do you really know your ‘friends?’ Be wary of ‘friending’ individuals that you don’t know ‘in person.’ It’s very easy to pose as someone in your network; hackers and even those that might be interested in military members and their whereabouts can disguise themselves as innocuous individuals. You simply don’t want your information with wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing.
Having Your Identity Stolen
Posting any personal information about yourself can make it easier for people to steal your identity. Hackers try to gain access to your email through your social media sites. Try to avoid putting your birthday for the public to see. Even a simple “Happy Birthday, Mom” can make it so that hackers know your mother’s profile–and your maiden name. This is a common security question when forgetting a password and can be used to access your accounts. Do not post your phone number, address or any other personal information on the social media sites for thieves to access any of that information.
Inadvertently Letting Stalkers Find You
Many of us enjoying taking photos with friends, taging them and geotagging the location. This can quickly become a dangerous situation if this information is put in the wrong hands. Don’t list times you’re going to be somewhere or the exact location. Wait until after you have left to say where you were if you really feel like tagging the restaurant with the photo of your awesome meal or your adorable picture with your girlfriends. Make sure to keep your privacy settings on the highest possible security.
Letting Burglars Know Your Whereabouts
Informing the entire social media world that you will be on vacation for two weeks in Europe is sure to make some people extremely jealous, but worse it can be potential for inviting burglars into your house. Never post when you’re leaving or how long you’ll be gone. Wait until you’re back from vacation to post all about it full of pictures and posts.
Letting People Know You’re Alone
When your spouse is TDY or deployed, DO NOT post that you’re alone. This can put you in a dangerous situation with strangers. Most dangerous situations for women happen when the person is aware that the victim is home alone.
Keeping the Kids Safe
While bragging about the kids is great, posting where they are going to be on social media is not. Putting up practices, rehearsals, birthday party information involving the kids can make it so kidnappers can know exactly the location of your children. This can make it easy for anyone to have access to your kids. Some kidnappers will try to convince kids that their parents sent them to pick them up from practice or other activities and knowing a lot about you on social media can make it easier to convince the kids that they are a family friend.