Have you ever given any thought to your social media status updates? Perhaps you should. While no one wants to think about it, you might be putting yourself at risk based on what you post. It seems that our need to be connected via social media results in risky behaviors that too many are simply not considering.
When I scroll through feeds, I am amazed at how much information is posted without a second thought. “31 years old today!” or “Mom and me at the bar!” I get it; you want the world to see you having a great time. Unfortunately, when you post things like this, not only do I have your birthday but I also have a link to your mother’s profile where it wouldn’t take too much to discover her maiden name or yours.
Not a big deal, right? Well, birthday, mother’s maiden name; these are popular security questions that I now have the answers to. When you blindly post stuff like that, you are giving identity thieves plenty to work with.
The one that confuses me the most is when young (and usually single) women provide their location and daily habits for the world to see. “Usual Monday routine at the gym!” or “Won’t be back for at least a week! #vacation” or “Wine is life!“. Sure, you looked great in that outfit and we all love the bikini shots, but even better is the verifiable proof that you’re out of town or that you’ve been drinking. This kind of information can be used in a variety of terrible ways. Here are just a few of the many examples:
- A stalker or ex could easily find you.
- A bad guy could enter your home knowing that you’re not there. He could simply wait on you to return; catching you by surprise.
- A burglar will know that you’re not home and know he’s got plenty of time to take what he wants.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself that you don’t associate with bad guys and that such creepers are not on your friends list anyway. Are you sure about that? Statistically speaking, you are more likely to know the bad guy in some way shape or form and this is especially true when violence is involved. Do you really want to take that risk?
Your problems are only exacerbated when you don’t do the simple things, like lock your windows, hide your valuable before having friends over or worse yet, thinking that you were only going to be gone a few minutes so you didn’t bother to lock your front door. These are not difficult or complicated tasks. However, these are usually the most overlooked steps that can easily help protect you and your belongings.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have fun or that you can’t share you life with your friends and family on social media. I’m not saying that at all actually. Just do yourself a favor and follow some of these social media security suggestions:
- Don’t post location-identifying, vacation or party pictures until AFTER you are home.
- When you do post pictures, avoid using habit identification phrases like “Typical Friday” or “My Saturday ritual”.
- Never post your full address or birth-date (specifically the year – or age).
- Don’t post your children’s names, school, and birth-dates.
- Avoid posting location information – either current or habitual.
- And NEVER post your daily schedule. That’s just silly.
Remember that less than 20% of burglaries result in arrest and the majority of break-ins are committed by those who live nearby. Considering that the average loss for burglaries is just over $2,000, you can’t afford not to use at least some of this information. Don’t set yourself up to be the victim.
What Else Can I Do?
If you have an alarm system – USE IT! Too many people buy alarm systems and then get out of the habit of actually arming them. It’s silly. If you can’t afford a security system, there are plenty of things you can do to help beef up security such as:
- Get a dog
- Don’t hide keys outside.
- Install deadbolts and extra locks on windows and doors.
- Trim back shrubs and bushes around the house.
- Shred or burn personal information – don’t just throw it away.
- Keep an eye out for people who might be following you. Get your face out of the phone and pay attention.
- Park as close to the building as possible and only in well-lit areas.
- Put inside lights on timers.
- Keep your cell phone charged and keep it on you.
Want more tips and tricks? Check out this link: https://swapanly.com/personal-safety-tips-increase-protection/
A great follow-up to this article might be my article titled, “Situational Awareness – Tips to Help You Maximize Your Safety.”