Don’t Share Too Much

Do you use Facebook? How about Twitter or Nextdoor? They’re all good ways to stay connected to friends, family, and community. They’re also a way to tell evildoers when you’re going on vacation, where you live, what your children and grandchildren are named, and where they are.

Do you ever answer an internet security question by giving your mother’s maiden name, where you met your spouse, or where you went to high school? Do you share that same information in “fun” questionnaires on Facebook? Do you see a pattern here? What you share can get in the wrong hands.

There are many remote ways for scammers to steal your money. One way that was popular a few years ago was to contact a grandparent, claiming to be a grandchild who has lost money while on vacation and needs help getting back home. Scammers can gather many specifics about you and your family right from Facebook. Then they just need a likely story and a gullible grandparent.

So, here are a few things to do and not to do…

Make sure your social media is locked down. Use the highest level of security you can and realize that Facebook will not make it easy. Facebook makes money selling information about you and your habits. They will change default settings and permissions with each update. You need to check those settings from time to time to make sure you stay secure.

Do not tell your Facebook friends your vacation plans. I have friends on Facebook who will tell the world when they are leaving for Florida, how long they will be gone, and who they will be with. They will provide pictures and progress updates while on the trip. That is not a good idea,

Do you need to live in fear when you use Facebook or Nextdoor? No, you don’t. Will everything you post be used against you? Not likely.

The fact is most people are not out to get you, but some may be. And the easier you make it, the more likely it is that you become the next target. Be safe and be aware.

Jarren Ringle is a member of SourcePoint and a volunteer instructor. He teaches various technology classes throughout the year. Jarren also volunteers at the Delaware County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management. With many years of project management experience in various technology fields, he enjoys helping others with technology.