With billions of people in social media nowadays, protecting identity has become a serious concern for many people. The accessibility of personal information on the web has made it so easy for people with malicious intent to mar or steal your identity and use it in committing crimes. In fact, the site websafetyadvice.com has published some alarming statistics on how rampant cybercrime is right now affecting the government, businesses and private individuals.
While it can be difficult to part with social media as part of our daily lives, we can take protective measures to keep our identities safe in various platforms.
Control What People Can See
Setting your profile to public is like an open invitation to different forms of cyber crimes, including identity theft. Every social media platform has a privacy setting that allows you to adjust and customize to your preferred level of security. With that said, you don’t have to fill up every form. People may know your birth date, but don’t include the year. They may know which state you live, but not the specific town or city. Giving out precise information on your social media profile makes it easy for criminals to spy on you and put you at risk. Don’t spoon-feed criminals with the information they need.
Filter Your Posts
It can be tempting to post everything on social media just to keep your friends and family in the loop. But there’s some very personal information that should never make it on the internet, such as your particular location, social security numbers, and bank account details. For instance, if you’re letting the whole world know that you’ll be out of town for the weekend, it’s easy for ill-meaning people to take advantage of your time away from home. If you need to inform your friends and family, utilize private messaging or post a few days after you’ve come home.
Secure All Devices You Use
In this era of the internet of things, you can connect almost any device to each other and to the internet. It may be convenient to use every device with just a swipe or click; you still need to take proper measure to ensure that your devices are adequately protected should they fall into the wrong hands. Create a strong password for each device and utilize additional encryption if available.
Modify your Passwords Regularly
Cybercriminals don’t always act the moment they get their hands on your password. Most of them wait for the perfect opportunity to commit their deeds. Make it habit to change your passwords on your social media accounts on a regular basis to stop criminals from spying on you for the long-term. Also, make sure to create a strong password every time, and stay away from obvious ones like your birthday or nickname.
Beware of the Links
You’ll encounter a lot of links on social media. Some of them ask you to sign up to join a group or community, or enter personal details to download an app or take a quiz. Some of these links look legit enough, but you still need to be careful. If it’s unlikely for a friend to send you such link, don’t click on it. It’s possible that they’ve been hacked and the criminals are using their identities to collect information from other people. Worse, a link you clicked could automatically download a virus or malware into your device.
Only Accept People You Know
You might use social media to connect and socialize, but accepting people you’ve never even met in real life is very dangerous. You don’t need a huge social media circle if most of those people are just faces and names you don’t recognize. The next time someone sends you a friend request, make sure you know the person. And if someone in your connections seems suspicious, there’s always the “block” feature.
Perhaps you never logged out of your accounts because it’s so much easier to use it any time of the day. But you need to log out, at least from time to time. What if your phone is broken and you have to take it to a technician, and you never logged out of your Facebook account?
It’s like giving the person full liberty to explore your accounts. It’s also essential to log out when using a public computer as well.
Personal information should be “personal” and is never meant to be shared with other people, especially strangers on the internet. Don’t make it easy for other people to use and steal your identity. Social media is fun and useful, but there’s a small risk if you’re not too careful.