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There’s an uptick in social media usage these days, including a rise in users worried they may be the next target of a scam or identity theft. Take a deep breath and continue to read about the top tips for protecting personal information on social media.
Be Leery of What Websites You Use
It’s OK to be cautious when using social media, but you still need to be leery of what websites you use. The first rule to note for anyone of any age is not to trust every website. You can tell if a website is safe if it uses “HTTPS:” at the beginning of its website name. “HTTPS:” shows the website has a security certificate.
No matter how legitimate a website looks, you should be aware of what others have to say about it. It’s easy to pop the company or website name into Google and look at reviews and Reddit posts talking about these websites.
Here are some surefire ways to tell a website is fake and may be unsecured:
- The website name changes frequently, or it’s a misspelling of a common brand.
- They have fake reviews.
- It’s easy to search these names. Use the Better Business Bureau for official customer complaints and reviews.
- They ask for specific personal info, such as your social security number or another login.
Don’t Accept Random Friend Requests
On social media, you engage with many individuals. Professional and personal connection requests pop up regularly, but be mindful of random requests, especially ones that don’t show mutuals. Unless you’re meeting a person for the first time in real life, or they share friends with you, don’t accept them.
A random request is a nuisance and an easy way for scammers to get access to personal information and content on your sites. Don’t fall victim to scams; cross-reference people with your friends and family, and alert your friends if you see a fake profile of them.
Call up your friend or family member and ask if they’ve created a new profile. If they haven’t, block and report the account and delete the request. Stay safe online, and don’t accept a random request from someone you don’t know, even if it’s a fake profile of your celebrity crush.
Be Mindful of the Content You Put on Public Profiles
One essential tip for protecting your personal information online is to be mindful of what you put on your public accounts. If you have personal photos, consider creating a private account to share with friends and family you’re close to; for public profiles, share professional content, such as work accomplishments.
Also, sharing photos online is a favorite pastime for many, but ensure you don’t rely on social media for photo storage. Trusting social media for photo storage could attract security risks, such as hackers using your photos to trick friends and family into divulging sensitive information. Protect yourself by making your profile private, and you’ll enjoy engaging with friends, followers, and your favorite celebrities.