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These days, it seems like almost everyone is on social media. Some would even say this blog counts as social media. And I get it - social media is really fun. It's a great way to catch up with friends and family, promote your business, stay up to date on news and Hollywood gossip, and share things you're passionate about. But as much fun as it can be, it can also be dangerous. Don't worry, we've got a few tips to make sure you selfie safely.
1. Keep that stuff private
This one seems simple enough, but it's worth repeating: keep your profile on private. Public profiles are so much easier for a hacker to get information from. Public profiles are more susceptible to getting their identities stolen, getting hacked on Facebook or in other aspects of your life (like your credit cards), and being scammed. Besides, do you really want a stranger you've never met to be able to see every photo and status you post? If you do want to keep aspects of your profile public, you can typically choose what parts of your page can be seen by people who aren't your friend.
2. Be careful what you wish for... on a public status
Be careful what you post on social media because once it's out on the internet, it's there forever, even if you delete it. A good mantra to live by is "pause before you post." Always take a minute before hitting post and reflect on how this specific post will look in the future. Definitely take the time to consider how it will look to a future employer. Most employers admit to checking applicants' Facebook pages before hiring them. Likewise, one wrong post (like maybe a joke you found funny that didn't sit well with some of your Facebook friends) can stay on the internet forever and essentially ruin your reputation. Oftentimes, it's safer to err on the side of not posting.
3. Do you know him?
Be careful when adding friends to social networks. While it can feel good to look at your friend list and see a giant number, it can also be dangerous to add people you don't know. Adding strangers makes you more susceptible to scams, stolen identities, and stalking. If you don't know someone, do not give them access to your personal information. If you are unsure, check out their list of friends. If you share multiple friends you trust, it's most likely safe. If you don't recognize anyone, it's best to deny their request.
4. Don't be afraid to be a tattletale
Don't be afraid to report things on social media that make you uncomfortable. If you see a person posting threatening comments, continually harassing someone, or a profile that does not seem legitimate, report that person, post, or page. It might be easier to just keep scrolling, but it's important to make it known. Chances are, if you are feeling uncomfortable because of something on social media, others are, too. And if someone is harassing or bothering you, don't be afraid to block their profile. It's easy and effective.
5. Oversharing is definitely a thing
This is a huge one! In a world all about sharing, be careful about oversharing. While it's fun to post photos on vacation or 'check in' whenever you try a new restaurant or business, it can put your safety at risk. If you post a photo and check in at a restaurant a couple towns over, that lets criminals know you are not home and your house is empty. Likewise, if you post photos from vacation, burglars can recognize that it's a great time to break in without getting caught. This works for oversharing personal information as well. The more personal info you have on your page, like previous work places, hometown, etc., the easier it is for hackers to guess your passwords and security questions. Limit what you share and who you share it with.
6. Are you sure? Really sure?
Make sure you are double checking certain things before trusting them. This could mean profiles, posts, and especially, links. If something looks slightly off, investigate. If a friend sends you a request and the photo looks like her, but the 'about me' section seems off, shoot her a text. If you see a post that seems a little far fetched, do a quick Google search to make sure it's true before sharing. If you see a link for $100 off your next Amazon order, look into it before clicking. It might take a few extra minutes, but it's better safe than sorry. It's easy for scammers to fake a profile or a coupon and collect your personal information.
Good luck out there and remember: keep your selfie game strong and your password even stronger.