Think before you post: Understanding the dangers of social media habits

June 20, 2018

If you think that social media is safe and totally private, then think again. The reason that social media is a public domain is nothing short of an open book- one that is open to anyone and everyone who wants to see it.

Social media has become so pervasive in today’s society that based on the latest findings from a survey conducted by Pew Research Center, it revealed that 88% of the US population aged 18 to 29 years old use any form of social media. This means that from the local retail store to the most advanced IT support office, you can be sure to find that 9 out of 10 people are into social media.

But there is a cause for concern. A report released by the Javelin Strategy and Research group indicated an increase in the number of identity fraud by no less than 13% between 2010 and 2011. Social media has been responsible for increasing the risk of people getting defrauded because people started exposing themselves too much.

Here are some glaring statistics from the report;

  • 68% of people in social media with public profiles have shared their birthday information on Facebook and Twitter, of which 45% have even shared specific details as to the exact month, day and year.
  • 63% have publicly shared where they attended high school.
  • 18% shared their phone number
  • 12% shared their pet’s name.

Many, if not most of these details are commonly used personal information for social security accounts, financial profiles, and security validation information.

For hackers and fraudsters, access to these types of information can be a veritable gold-mine of information that can be used to access your identity, even with advanced IT support services in place.

Never expose yourself too much
Always be mindful and extremely careful about the information or ideas you share. When in doubt, always err on the side of caution.

You can never be too careful about what you want to show to the public.

Limit your audience
You have options to share what you want to with only a select audience. Never be too excited about something that could make you lose your cool or your inhibitions. There are people who are out to find a way through, so make sure that you avoid giving out too much information.

Be wary of shared links or unknown files
Don’t be too quick to open up unsolicited links or files, no matter how tempting it may be. It could be malware that provides access to your computer system without you knowing it.

Criminals will always take advantage of your curiosity to find a way in.