In this day and age, privacy is something of a rarity and your beloved social media sites are to blame for much of that. However, there there are things people do every day that make situations so much worse. The next time you decide to post something on a social media site such as Facebook, make sure you’re not doing one of these things that places you and your loved ones at risk.
1. The Address of Your Residence and Place of Business
This should be a no-brainer, right? People post this information without a moments thought by ‘checking in’ and geo-tagging photos that reveal your address to anyone who happens to see your photos.
For example, on Instagram you can create your own geo-tags for your images. When you do this, it pulls the location of where you’re located so if your tags point to the same location, it becomes very easy for anyone to find you. Something else that people need to be mindful of is people tagging, or ‘checking in’, when they visit your residence or place of business.
2. Photographs of Children
If there’s one thing you should be extra, extra careful about it’s when it comes to children and social media. When posting photos of children, you should always get permission if they aren’t yours. You should always be cautious about uploading compromising images, including where they go to school.
3. Details About Your Vacation
Telling people you’re on vacation for an extended period time is an invite for criminals to burglarize your home while you’re away. This doesn’t mean you can’t post photos from your trip while you’re on vacation, but any such photos should be limited to a select group of friends rather than posting the photos for everyone on your page.
Furthermore, it’s a very bad idea to post your itinerary online for all to see. What better way to lure a predator and become the prey? (“I’m in Madrid Oct. 10 to 17, Berlin Oct. 17 to 25, and Rome Oct. 25 to 31 before flying back home. Know anyone in those cities who might want to hang out with a new friend?”).
4. Clues To Account Passwords
Online security questions aren’t the best, especially when they require information that you could easily give away on social networks without really thinking about it. The small town where you grew up, your childhood pet’s name, where you were married, your first boyfriend’s name — these are all specific details your larger social circle doesn’t need to know anyway.
5. Photographs That You Want To Keep Private
It should go without saying that posting nude or compromising photos on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter is a recipe for disaster. Even if you Direct Message or Snapchat them, there’s still a risk when you never really know who you can trust until it’s too late.
6. Financial Information
Believe it or not, there are people who actually post photos of their credit cards on social media. But less obvious details you might unintentionally give away through Facebook or Twitter conversations: what bank you use and your income range. The smallest details that you think are insignificant can be used to extract other pieces of information from unsuspecting friends, family, and acquaintances until before you know it, you’ve become a victim of identity theft.
In closing, the best course of action when deciding whether or not you should post something online, ask yourself these questions:
- If I post this, would it bring harm to myself or someone I know?
- If I share this, could it come back and make trouble for me later?
- If I post this, would it have an effect on my employment?
- If I share this, could it result in a run-in with the law?
Anything you post online, is out there forever. Although you delete it, the content you share is never truly gone. If it isn’t something you’d be comfortable with the entire world knowing or seeing then it’s best to err on the side of caution and not post it to any form of digital media.