Social media can be a powerful tool for individuals to keep in touch with their friends and family. However, once you sign up for your account, there are some steps you’ll need to take to protect your identity.
Protect your privacy on social media sites
Limit who you are sharing the information with — Make sure you customize your settings so that you are keeping strangers out and only sharing your information, posts, and pictures with people in your inner circle. Most sites will even allow you to group friends into different categories, so you can create additional levels of limiting information. Take advantage of this option when available.
Opt-out of checking-in — Some sites will allow other individuals to check you in to geographic locations. Many people don’t mind this option, but remember that when you tell people where you are, you are also telling them where you aren’t—at home. Criminals use this information to gain access to your home, which contains your valuables, including your identification. Consider disabling this feature.
Limit the amount of personal information you post — Do not post information that would make you vulnerable, including your birth date, physical address, or other details that help identity thieves. If your connections post information about you, make sure the combined information is not more than you would be comfortable with strangers knowing.
Be wary of strangers — The Internet makes it easy for people to misrepresent their identities and motives. Consider limiting the people who are allowed to contact you on these sites. If you interact with people you do not know, be cautious about the amount of information you reveal or agreeing to meet them in person.
Watch out for apps — Many apps have access to your friends list, posts, and other information. You should consider editing the app privacy settings, either within the social media site or each app individually, to remove these permissions. Remove any apps that are no longer in use.
Remove yourself from public searches — For those who are extremely security-conscious, some sites grant you the ability to remove your profile from being found when someone looks for you on a search engine. If you want to remain hidden, then look for this option and activate it.
What do you do once your social media account is hacked?
Step 1: Change your password
If you’re able to log into your account (some hackers actually forget to change your password on you), then do so and change your password immediately.
Step 2: Regain control of your account(s)
If you’re unable to access your account, follow the directions on the social media site help center. Remember to change your security questions and answers once you have regained control as the hacker may have noted this information.
Step 3: Report it
Report it to the site immediately.
Step 4: Communicate with your audience
Whether you were able to log back in and regain control or not, it’s very important that you let your audience know what’s going on. If you were able to log back in, simply send out a tweet or a post explaining the situation and apologizing for any inconvenience it may have caused.
Other Things to Consider
- Scan your computer with an updated anti-virus program.
- Check your sent messages to ensure that no communications were sent to your contacts.
- Change the password on all accounts that you used the same hacked password on:
- Other email accounts
- Financial accounts
- Online merchant accounts
- Social media accounts
If you wish to proactively manage your identity, call a Pekin Insurance Agent for assistance. For news on the latest privacy and security trends and educational resources to help you better protect your identity, visit http://pekininsurance-idtheft.com/.