Safety Tips for Social Media

April 8, 2013

Facebook, Twitter and other social media can be innocent fun that makes you a target for crime. Users make many mistakes in their use of social media that can seriously increase their risk of becoming targeted for home invasion or worse. However, some strategic tips will help keep you safe.

Know and Use Your Privacy Settings

Social media is changing regularly, especially Facebook. If you think you have established tight privacy settings on your social media accounts, check again. The latest updates may have opened all your information up for anyone to access. Put your settings high so that only your friends can see your posts, tweets and other information about you.

Be Choosy About Your Friends

Really knowing your social media friends will help you stay safer. Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know or have met just once. If you do choose to friend people you barely know, set them up with a limited profile, so they do not have access to all your information. Remember also that friends of yours may intentionally or unintentionally share their social media access by leaving it open or having an extremely obvious password.

Limit What You Put Out There

Think for a moment about the kinds of pictures you regularly see on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. They reveal a lot: the contents of homes, new purchases, places you visit, what your kids look like and much more. This type of information is fodder for those looking for a home to break into or worse.

When you check in to a place on Facebook or Foursquare, or enable Tweet location, you are telling your audience (depending on privacy settings – the world) where you are at that moment. You are alerting people that your home is unoccupied at the moment. If you check in at a place far from your home, you are giving criminals a time frame to work with, creating a rich opportunity for someone who is looking for one.

Have a Business? Keep it Separate

When you have a business page on social media, you are out there for the world to find. While this is an excellent tool for generating new clients, building relationships and more, it is important to keep your personal life off your business accounts. Every time you put information about where you are on your business page, you are letting anyone and everyone also know where you are not. This is handy information for criminals.

Your personal and home security can be negatively impacted by your use of social media. Take the necessary precautions to not share information that would be useful to criminals and stay safe.