HomeTechHacker: Tips for Protecting Yourself From Cybercriminals on Social Media

Sunday, October 23, 2022

By Marlon Buchanan

Social media can be great for sharing information, consuming information, and connecting with people, but it’s also a treasure trove of opportunities for cybercriminals to exploit. Here are some of the cybersecurity issues with social media and how you can protect yourself.

Protect Your Identity and Privacy on Social Media

You may have published a lot of information about yourself on social media that can help cybercriminals commit identity theft and fraud. 

Have you looked at how much information you share in your profiles? Or the personal details you share in posts and tweets? 

In general, to protect yourself from cyberattacks you should refrain from sharing:
  • Your location data (GPS coordinates, IP address, etc.). Make sure the social media service you are using removes location data from pictures that you upload, or remove the location data yourself.
  • Personally identifying information (e.g., your full name with your middle name, your birthday, photos of passports, credit cards, and driver’s licenses). 
    • This includes information you might use as the answers to security questions like the name of your first pet, where you were born, your mother’s maiden name, etc.
  • Pictures of the exterior of a new home you just bought. Cybercriminals will use this information in phishing attacks and to try to commit identity fraud.
  • Photos of your young children and grandchildren. Photos, combined with names and other information, can be used to commit identity theft. 
    • The problem with identity theft of young children's information is that no one is usually checking their credit record. When those children become adults they may find they already have 10 years of bad credit and banking history that they have to fix.

Now, I know some of this seems drastic. If you are tightly controlling who you share information with, you can share some of these things on social media (like pictures of your children). But if you don’t 100% trust or know everyone you are sharing this information with then you shouldn’t share it, which leads me to my next recommendation.

Don’t “Friend” or “Connect” With People on Social Media That You Don’t Know

Although this advice is most applicable to Facebook and LinkedIn, it more generally applies to other social media networks like Instagram (e.g., who you allow to follow you). 

Your Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are a goldmine for identity thieves. One way these fraudsters try to compromise your identity is by getting access to more details about you by becoming part of your social media network.

Beware of Fake Profiles (Impersonation)

Another way scammers attack after friending you is by cloning your account. Once they are your friend, they can use that information to create a profile that looks just like yours, and then use that account to friend people you know, posing as you, in order to get access to your friend’s information, and run scams on them much easier because that friend thinks they are interacting with you.

You could also be the target of someone impersonating someone you know on social media. Make sure you really know who you are conversing and sharing information with. Just because it comes from an account that looks like your friend doesn’t mean it is your friend.

Social media platforms can be great communication tools, but they can also be exploited by cybercriminals. Taking these extra precautions can help you, your friends, and your family stay safe.

Marlon Buchanan
Marlon Buchanan is a best-selling author, IT Director, and founder of HomeTechHacker.com, a website with free resources to help you make the most of your home technology. 


Post a Comment

We encourage the thoughtful sharing of information and ideas. We expect comments to be civil and respectful, with no personal attacks or offensive language. We reserve the right to delete any comment.

Facebook: Shoreline Area News
Twitter: @ShorelineArea
Daily Email edition (don't forget to respond to the Follow.it email)

  © Blogger template The Professional Template II by Ourblogtemplates.com 2009

Back to TOP