If you publish personal data on social media, then you open the door for cyber crooks.
There are more than 4.6 billion internet users around the world today – and they’re spending a lot of time on social media. Content is viewed, shared, and downloaded on a massive scale. Every 60 seconds, 695 000 stories are posted on Instagram; 9 132 connections are made on LinkedIn; and 5 000 downloads are completed on TikTok.
Social media can be a great way to keep in touch with family and friends – but it can be risky, too. Especially when people start sharing personal information about themselves, their loved ones, or their friends. Both cybercriminals and real-world fraudsters could use such sensitive data for any number of schemes, including identity fraud, mobile scams, or phishing attacks. When it comes to posting on social media, privacy is paramount. Take these precautions, and take control of your social profiles…
1 | Read the fine print when you sign up
It’s all too easy to skip through the Terms & Conditions, the Disclaimers, the Privacy Policies, and the User Agreements when you’re setting up a new social profile. This kind of documentation is often lengthy and complicated, but it’s important to know your rights, and the rights of the service provider, from day one. Don’t just tick the boxes and move on: understand what permissions you’re granting to the social network concerned and how your account data is going to be used and managed.
2 | Choose the strongest privacy settings you can
Many social networks allow you to restrict content access to certain groups of people. Facebook, for example, lets you customise the privacy of each post, so you can opt to share it with the Public, with Friends, or with Specific Friends (selected individuals). This is a useful feature for controlling the visibility of your words and pictures. Check the settings of your social profiles to see the enhanced privacy options available – and then take advantage of them.
We’ve included links to the relevant information pages from the most popular channels, in the list below. Bookmark them for future reference, or take a few moments now to learn more about the privacy controls on your favourite social site.
3 | Take care when you share
It’s tempting to share the daily details of your life on social media, especially when you’re enjoying a holiday or celebrating an event. But stop and think about how such information could be used by other people. A photo of your new big-screen TV, for example, might seem harmless. But what if you’ve listed your residential address in your public biography? A real-world villain could use that geographic data to locate your house, monitor the property, and then pick a suitable time to break in and steal your new TV! Don’t make your personal data public. Sensitive information – like your full name, date of birth, residential address, email address, and mobile number – is valuable to you. It’s valuable to scammers as well. Protect your privacy by being discreet on social media.