UPDATED: Dec. 4, 2017
Less really is more, especially when it is about oversharing on social media.
In this blog post, we will go over 7 tips on what not to post on social media. Maintaining good online security hygiene is a good New Year’s resolution, and one that we think should top your resolution list for 2018.
Photos of Your Boarding Pass
It’s tempting to gloat when one is waiting in the airport, giddy at the thought of the uninterrupted beach time that awaits. But whatever you do, don’t snap a photo of your boarding pass and upload it to one of your social media feeds. Why not? As it turns out, it’s pretty dangerous, as detailed in this shocking story. Using a real photo of an Australian citizen’s boarding pass shared on social media in August 2016, Steve Hui from iflyflat.com.au set out to see just how easy it was to obtain personal details from such a picture. Using the information in the photo, Hui logged onto delta.com and was quickly able to pull up an astonishing amount of info — including the person’s frequent flyer number and entire itinerary — just using the passenger name and E-ticket number. He could even see the breakdown of the fare paid, the date of purchase and the last four digits of the person’s credit card.
Some folks think they’re smart, and use their fingers to cover key details but leave the barcode at the bottom exposed. Turns out that’s just as big of a no-no as well since there are dozens of online barcode readers available that can provide much of the same aforementioned info based upon that code.
Photos of Your Free Food Coupons
Chain restaurants have been known to offer free food deals via electronic coupons. Jump up and down to celebrate, sure, but whatever you do, don’t post a celebratory picture of the actual coupon as you can almost guarantee someone from the cybersphere will steal it and use the freebie for himself. Business Insider covered just such a story about a coveted Chipotle burrito here.
Moral of the story? Use restraint and consider what you are oversharing on social media.
Perhaps Tweet a photo of your burrito before you eat it rather than the coupon that scored it.
Information that Could Put Your Family at Risk
You would never tell complete strangers your husband is out of town, or that your children are finally old enough to stay at home by themselves, so think twice before you post news of that sort on your Facebook or other social media feeds, especially if your privacy settings aren’t set at the highest levels. This is probably the most important things on what not to post on social media. Some studies have shown that nearly 40 percent of users don’t restrict access to their profiles, letting anyone see anything about them. That’s frightening considering how many predators are thought to use the Internet to stalk their next victim. For a great guide on how to make your accounts as secure as possible, check out this Gizmodo Field Guide.
Addresses (Email and Physical)
Sharing your email address or physical address on a Garage Sale page on Facebook might seem harmless at the time, but these are pieces of information an identity thief would love to have (for reasons they’d like your email address, check out this post). Likewise, guard your home address as well. While Google Maps street view function is an amazing function, it can also be used by those with nefarious plans, like a robber wanting to virtually case your home. Did you know you can request to have your home, car, etc. removed from Google Maps Street View? Visit Google Maps, enter your address, make sure whatever you want blurred is actually shown and then click on the “Report A Problem” link. Simply complete the form and click submit.
Same as above — don’t post your phone number anywhere on your social media profiles. Even if it seems harmless, like responding to a dear old friend you just connected with for the first time in a decade and want to reconnect over the phone. At the very least, you should private message her your number instead of posting it publicly. You don’t want your phone number to land on some robo call list. There are so many phone scams around these days, it truly is important to be careful who you share your digits with these days.
Answers to Your Security Questions
Another good consideration: Don’t share details online that you use in the answers to those security questions that pop up in case you’ve forgotten your password — favorite pet’s name; mother’s maiden name; high school mascot. Even sharing on Facebook where you went to high school then makes it an easy Google search for a thief to figure out the school’s mascot. Think twice before you post any information that could compromise your information. When in doubt, leave it out is the best motto.
While it’s fun to get happy birthday wishes from Facebook friends far and near, your full birth date is something you should think twice before sharing online. At the very least, don’t include the year. Also, don’t include your place of birth on Facebook. This is just the sort of information an identity theft would love to access. Consider thinking twice on what not to post on social media.
Unfortunately, there are some folks who do everything right and still have their identity stolen. That’s because thanks to big data breaches, like the Equifax breach, our names, addresses, Social Security numbers and dates of birth have been compromised. Even though the news headlines about Equifax have slowed, the lifelong risk of identity theft remains.
Who would you call if you learned your identity had been stolen? What would you do if you suddenly got a bunch of bills in the mail for credit cards you didn’t open or medical procedures you didn’t receive?
We’d be honored to be your first call. Sign up for an annual subscription to LibertyID, and sleep better tonight knowing that if such a thing happens, you’d be covered. That’s right — if a LibertyID member’s identity is stolen, we fix it. Simple as that. A certified restoration specialist will handle all of the legwork and keep you informed with regular status updates. And unlike some companies, there’s no limit to the time or money we will spend restoring your identity to pre-event status. But just like with car insurance, you have to be covered before there’s an incident.