Modern people can't imagine their lives without social networks and everyday more and more of them keep springing up. A lot of special apps for smartphones have also been created to enable people connect with new friends and keep in touch with existing ones. However, while enjoying the endless possibilities offered by social networks, do not forget to be security conscious.
Every time you create a profile on any social network, you automatically put your personal data in jeopardy. Internet users should be very careful. Some people say the safest way to protect you personal information is to completely abandon social networks, but you do not need to make such sacrifices. Just take responsibility for your own safety and use the safety tips below:
1. Do not share personal information
A user of social networks reveals many aspects of his/her life to strangers. Sometimes ill-wishers get information that should never fall into their hands. You have to make a conscious effort to keep certain sensitive information off the internet to protect yourself.
Let's list the things that you should not share:
- Social Security number. Do not even disclose the last 4 digits.
- Home address.
- Date of birth.
- Phone number (Except it's a phone you use to communicate with business partners.
- PIN codes, passwords, information on credit cards and bank accounts.
We also recommend that you do not disclose your country of birth, because with its help scammers can get your social security number and other personal information.
On most social networks, you have the option of disclosing personal information to only a group of trusted people. Use this function. If there is none, just do not enter such information at all.
2. Tune the privacy settings
Another important tip to remember is to never stick with using your default settings; users can customize these setting to control privacy. Do not be too lazy to explore the options of the site regarding personal data, because it is in your own interest.
Limit the parameters that put you at risk by choosing the groups of users who are allowed to learn more about you. That way you will be able to hide photos, publications and people in your contact list. On some sites, you can even choose an option that keeps your page private and makes sure it does not fall into search results.
Periodically check the privacy settings. Even if you have been using the site for a very long time, new useful opportunities can be added.
3. Do not reveal information about your work experience on LinkedIn
It is better not to show other Internet users a summary with full information about you, as this will be a real treasure for the scammers who could take a loan in the bank using your name.
On LinkedIn there are some functions that allow restricting personal information. Other users will not be able to see your contacts if you do not want them to. This is a useful option for recruiters and sales persons who want to hide their business connections from competitors.
If getting a job is your goal right now, it may be difficult to achieve this without revealing certain important information to potential employers, so you can allow this option for only a certain period of time. Once you get a job, remember to restrict these options again. Put up only enough data to get recruiters interested in you, they can always contact you directly for further discussion of prospective opportunities.
4. Better verify than trust
On social networks, you tend to find a lot of users who exploit impersonate people for various reasons. Some do it for fun, and even go ahead to impersonate popular people; so be sure to protect your personal info.
However, some people impersonate others for very wrong reasons. Fake accounts are created for insulting and deceiving other people. Vulgar photographs or advertisements can also be sent on the victim's behalf. Some scammers even go ahead to spread links to malicious sites using other people’s profiles information.
The important question are: how do you check the details on a page and establish the true identity of its user? How do you identify an actual profile and a scammer? Should you visit a proposed sites?
Consider the content that a person publishes, look for unusual signs that are not relatable to your real friend. If there is something fishy about their account, avoid them. You can also contact your friend by phone or email to verify if they are really the ones operating the account.
5. Control the comments
On blogs most blogs, you have the option to leave either anonymous or registered comments, and sometimes people write comments using other people's names. If you see that someone has used your identity to express his opinion, immediately contact the administrators for assistance, so that such comments can be deleted.
6. Do not disclose your private life
Do not be too open with strangers. Think about it, if you were to leave an announcement at the entrance of your home announcing that you are not home, it would certainly increase the likelihood of you getting robbed. The same logic can be applied in microblogs.
Some people do not get enough interactions in real life, so they use the Internet as the means to meet their social needs, and tend to drop very revealing messages with the details of their personal lives; but such information can easily fall into the wrong hands.
Control yourself and do not reveal things that can be used against you. Over time you can end up creating a page with so much information that put you at risk. At first such posts could seem harmless, but when accumulated it becomes a weapon.
Ill-wishers will know everything about your family, the places you visit and your regular schedule if you always put up posts about them. People often publish messages about being at parties. After taking alcohol, a person thinks less about what he writes and could end up publishing intimate photos and other very personal content; all these should be avoided.
7. Look for information about yourself
Enter your name in the Google search line and see how other users see your accounts on social networks. This is the easiest way to understand what information is available. If you do not like something, change your personal settings concerning it.
Such checks should be conducted about once a month. If you notice that your name often appears on a site that you do not usually visit, it is a signal that someone uses your personal data for fraudulent purposes.
On Google, you can set up an alert that will signal you if your name is found any site. If you have a popular name, there may be a couple of false alerts, but you will however, be insured. View the photos in the profiles that you received messages about. If your pictures were not used, then there is less reasons to worry.
8. Do not violate the rules of using the Internet at work
Surely you've heard about cases where employees were punished for inappropriate activities on the Internet. To make long hours in the workplace less boring, a lot of people tend to visit social networks. If you're one of them, take into account that this may not correspond with the rules of your company and such behaviors could land you in trouble.
This is not just because you do not perform the work for which you are paid for, but the bosses could be afraid of leaking internal information. The safety of corporate data at the moment is one of the most important security issues. Companies are looking for a way to protect themselves.
Confidential data and customer contacts can fall into the hands of mischief makers so avoid public statements about your company; an organization could lose money, clients and their good reputation if wrong information concerning them is posted on the internet.
9. Find out how site owners use your data
When one owner sells a social network to another, your personal information is also part of their deal. In such situations, users sometimes have to make privacy statements, as new owners may have plans to use the data in ways that you would not like. So re-read the user agreement when the page’s ownership changes.
Be careful and use these simple social media security tips at all times, that way the time you spend on the Internet will bring you only benefits and pleasure.
READ ALSO: New Yahoo mail registration guide