Did you know that employers and recruiters check your social media when considering you as a candidate for a job, sports team, internship, college admissions, etc.? They do, and if your security settings aren’t up to par, they might see something you didn’t want them to see.
Ok, so you did know that. Did anyone ever tell you that your profile remains online forever? Yeah, sure, you can delete stuff or remove your account, but as soon as one person sees it then it is out of your control forever. With just a little time and skill, someone could easily find anything you’ve ever posted online. It’s all stored somewhere. Things never truly go away on the internet.
Alright, you knew that too. Well, here’s one I bet you didn’t know: Identity thieves and phishing scammers also use your social media for their attacks too? Social media is especially useful to them for finding answers to those “silly” security questions. Things like your first pet, your favorite high school teacher, or even your mother’s maiden name are easy facts to find on a profile.
Take the time this week to check your security settings on all of your social media accounts. Don’t forget about Pinterest and LinkedIn too. You can edit the settings for who can see your profile such as Friends, Friends of Friends, or Everyone on Facebook, but you can also edit who can see each individual post. Maybe you should go back to the pictures from last weekend and make sure that your boss can’t see those posts.
Don’t forget to check your location settings. Some apps will post your location along with any photos or videos. This can be fun if you’re on vacation somewhere cool, but it also lets thieves know that you aren’t home. Home Alone anybody?
A good rule of thumb whenever you aren’t sure if something should go up on the web, ask yourself if you would put this post or tweet on a billboard in the middle of Times Square. Would you want complete strangers seeing you at that party? Would you want your parents to see you like that? Do you trust random people with access to that information about you? If the answer is “no,” or even a hesitant “maybe not,” then you should reconsider posting that. Some information can be safe. Such as sharing your hometown but not the street you live on or sharing your birthday just not the year. When in doubt, err on the side of privacy and safety.
Keep these tips in mind when considering your online reputation. You never know who is looking at your profile or posts. Be smart online.