Protect your account from being hacked by staying away from these social media privacy mistakes. Social media allows us to express ourselves. We can post almost anything. Make connections. Follow the lives of others. Stay connected. However, all of these great benefits can come at the cost of our personal privacy. Oversharing or befriending strangers could give someone the tools to steal your identity or hack into your account. Avoid making these mistakes, and you can protect your privacy while still enjoying your social media.
5 Social media privacy mistakes you should avoid:
- Using one password for everything
- Adding strangers
- Answering sketchy quizzes
- Commenting/sharing “fill in the blank” posts
Social media privacy mistake #1: Having one password to rule them all
Protecting your account starts with using a strong password. Many people fall into the trap of picking one password that they can easily remember. Furthermore, they use this password for all of their accounts. This is a big privacy mistake. Why?
If someone gets your password, suddenly they can hack into all of your social media accounts. This could cause you to lose control of your social media for some time while you attempt to fix the problem. Additionally, think of all the websites and apps that you log into using your social media credentials. Now the hacker could try to access those as well. Essentially, you’ve given a hacker a key that can open up many, many doors. Fix this privacy mistake by changing up your passwords, and picking stronger passwords!
Remember, a good password is not easily guessed. So, try not to use names, words, and years in your password. Instead, use a combination of letters (upper case and lower case), numbers, and symbols.
Social media privacy mistake #2: Adding strangers
Some people like to live by the saying, a stranger is a friend you haven’t met. However, this is a mistake when it comes to social media.
Strangers on social media are not always who they appear to be. If you add a stranger on Facebook, you might be letting a hacker into your social network. Once in your network, they can learn information about you which might make it easier to guess your password. Alternatively, some strangers are catfishers who may wish to scam you or intentionally mislead you. Although it can be fun to interact with strangers online such as interacting in a group on social media, try to avoid connecting with lots of strangers. If you are going to add a stranger, be sure to be cautious and check out their profile to see if there are clues that they might be a fake profile.
Social media privacy mistake #3: Oversharing
People post a variety of different types of content on social media. From Instagramming a perfect brunch, snapchatting a wild night out, posting a job update on LinkedIn, or tweeting our latest opinion on The Bachelor, social media has a place for anything and everything. However, just because you can post almost anything (within the rules for each platform) doesn’t mean that you should.
Oversharing can put your privacy at risk. Why? Oversharing in posts may include information that could be useful for identity theft, for scams, or for hacking into your account. Here are examples of common overshares that could put your privacy at risk:
- Instagramming a picture with an ID or bank/credit card in the picture (this could lead to identity theft!)
- Posting a screenshot of your running route (this could tell potential stalkers where you run, where you are likely to be alone, and when)
- Geotagging your location during vacation posts
- Posting drunk photos or partying videos that could pop up in a background check
- Accidentally alerting your current employer that you are seeking new work by posting about it publically (rather than a more private search)
- Setting all your posts to public so that anyone and everyone can see your social media activity
Social media privacy mistake #4: Taking quizzes
One method that scammers may use to get your personal information is through quizzes. These quizzes may sound irresistible, especially to those of us bored scrolling through our newsfeeds. However, some of these quizzes come at the cost of your privacy.
When taking a quiz, be wary if it asks to connect to your Facebook and if it requires you to share information in order to take the quiz. Additionally, watch out for quizzes that don’t give you your results unless you provide details like your phone number or email address. Basically, if it looks sketchy and it feels suspicious, it probably isn’t worth the risk.
Social media privacy mistake #5: Fill in the blank posts
One final social media privacy mistake is commenting on those viral “fill in the blank” posts. For anyone unfamiliar, these posts could look something like this:
“Calling all couples! How well do you know your spouse? Fill in the blanks with your answers, and tag your spouse to see. 😉
College sports team:
Copy and paste and share this post with your friends to see their answers!”
Alternatively, sometimes there is an image of something sentimental, like a childhood pet. And a request to comment on the name of your childhood pet.
These sorts of posts are designed to gain information about individuals. Partly because the information collected in these posts could help someone to guess your password or security questions. With this information, someone could try to steal your identity or hack into your account. Avoid interacting with these posts and warn friends who may have fallen victim to these viral trends.
In the world of social media, stay safe and avoid making these privacy mistakes.