Social media is the best way to connect with people all over the world. However, there are social media identity theft concerns you and your family should keep in mind when using services such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. Scams frequently start on social media and can present real problems for users. Between 2019 and 2020, reports of people losing money to social media scams more than tripled. Additionally, those with social media accounts run a 46% higher risk of identity fraud than those without.
To stay as safe as possible, here are eight essential identity theft prevention tips to follow while on social media.
8 Tips to Keep Safe on Social Media
- Click with caution. Be wary of links that come across your timelines in social media; they could be part of a phishing attack that redirects you to a fraudulent website.
- Create a “strong” password. Make sure you create strong passwords for your social media accounts and make them unique. If a hacker cracks one of your passwords, they can easily hack into other accounts, including your financial accounts if you are using the same password everywhere, which is a big no-no.
- Post with caution. What you post online is permanent, even after a social media account is deleted. So be cautious about what you share, especially information or pictures/videos of your kids.
- Don’t over-share. Identity thieves can learn a lot about you, like your pet’s name and more, by simply viewing your social media profiles. Thieves can then use that information to hack into your financial accounts.
- Don’t be too friendly. Only accept invitations to “connect” from people you know or that have a legitimate reason to contact you.
- Too much, too soon. Children under age 13 should not be using social media sites or be allowed to surf the web unsupervised. Make sure they know the ground rules for social media usage in your family, and monitor them continuously.
- Filter out the “not safe for kids” content. Research software or online services that filter out offensive materials and sites. Services such as Comcast can block inappropriate TV channels and you can set up your digital devices to keep kids from viewing offensive content. The best filter at home is to set up your family PC in the living room, family room, or any room where you spend a lot of time together.
- Don’t share your contact list. Often, upon logging in to social sites like Facebook and LinkedIn, you will see a prompt to share or import your contacts. Don’t do it; it’s not safe. Your friends will thank you for keeping their information secure.