When I turned 13, my parents gave me ‘The Talk’— about Internet Safety and my information that is. Stranger danger was big in the up-and-coming world of social media and the rules for staying safe were simple: Don’t accept friend requests from strangers. I had to be friends with my parents. And, in a rather tech-savvy move on my parents part: never post anything that would be marked ‘bad’ by a future job.
That was ten years ago. For most of us, those rules don’t really exist anymore. We meet face-to-face with strangers to buy and sell goods. Kids are playing online games and meeting/talking with dozens of strangers per day. We’re handing out full names, branding ourselves, and putting public information out everywhere in an attempt to stay relevant and socialize, but this can be dangerous in more ways than one.
Technology is amazing and the world is becoming more and more digital by the day. With this digital switch, comes risk, especially when that ‘stranger danger’ seems to no longer exist.
Your Vacation Plans
From countdowns to vacation photos, sharing information, or posting photos before or during your vacation is an open invite to your empty, unprotected home. Wait until you’re safely home before uploading those pictures. (Check out other great tips to keep your home safe while on vacation here.)
Pictures with Geotags
This goes hand-in-hand with the vacation rule. Tagging your location, rather on a post or with the geolocation embedded in your picture sets oﬀ that ‘I’m out!’ light for anyone that’s browsing. (Learn how to shut geotagging off for Apple and Android)
Your Full Birthday
While you may love getting loads of birthday wishes on your Facebook Timeline, having your birthday on full display provides scammers and identity thieves with one of the key pieces of information they need to steal your identity. Make sure, if you do have your birthday posted, that the year is private.
Your Phone Number
Your personal phone number can fall into the wrong hands through a social networking site. When you make your number public, it could fall into the hands of scammers or robot-callers. Though that might not seem like the end of the world, it’s also possible that your location could be narrowed down by someone using a reverse phone number lookup tool, something freely available on the internet. This, once again, endangers you and your home.
Your Home Address
Not only is it dangerous to have your address so easily accessible, but your address, along with your social security number, birthday, and phone number, is information that identity thieves seek. Keep it oﬄine as often as possible. Even though social media is becoming more prevalent in our day-to-day lives, we should still keep in mind that not everyone online is our friend. Though we’re far more open with who we are and what we do, we should still attempt to keep an air of mystery about us. Don’t be the person that shares too much information and ﬁnds themselves falling victim to scammers or thieves