Social media is major component of present day social life. It offers a medium not limited by time and distance, through which relatives, friends and strangers get to interact.
Like any gathering, social media platforms teem with individuals of all characters. Scientists, government officials, clergy, psychos, fraudsters among others.
This implies that not all people you get to interact with on social media mean well. Tales of teens lured to deaths or cyber bullied to a point commit suicide are abound.
It is therefore prudent to be careful of how and who you interact with on the internet. Here are a few tips you might want to consider to ensure privacy and safety.
- Be Selfish with Financial Information
Social media is a goldmine to fraudsters because it gives them access to the number of people they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to.
Fraudsters conduct their business in many forms, it could be a fake promotion, where you are encouraged to use your credit card to shop and get unreal bonuses and gifts. It could be a phishing scam where they create a fake web page for a financial service.
Whatever the scheme, always be very selective on where you use your credit card. As a rule of thumb, never open any link purporting to reward you for a competition you never took part in.
To escape phishing, always double-check the URLs of websites where you are likely to key in private information. Also look out for any discrepancy in logos, fonts and colours.
- Stay Away from Bullies
Some discourses floating on social media are very emotive and you may feel the urge to jump in and give your two cents. While engaging with strangers, maintain civility and sensibleness.
At times a discourse can get out of hand and personal attacks may start. Should things get to this point, simply log out and cool off. It is not worth it losing your cool over something strangers say – some who don’t know a thing about you and whom you may never even meet.
- Be Careful About Posting Your Location
You have been invited to this swanky place and you cannot resist the urge to share your itinerary. You might want to reconsider sharing this information unless it is absolutely necessary to do so.
Not all who read you posts mean well. A stalker, bitter ex or someone with evil intentions may see this info and come along to ruin your day.
Do Not Meet Strangers Privately
One aspect of social media that most have embraced is online dating. You may strike an enriching conversation with a stranger on a forum and feel the desire to meet them in person and get to know them better.
While some successful relationships have been borne of online interaction, not all encounters end up with a happily ever after.
When you reach a point you genuinely feel you want to meet with someone for the first time, choose a public place, preferably one with moderate human traffic.
Where possible, tag a friend for the first meet. Anyone without nefarious intentions will understand why a first encounter has to be handled with precaution.
- Moderate Sharing Baby Photos
Kid are adorable, there is no denying that. Some photos and videos we take of them in their element are gems we would want the whole universe to see.
However, some nefarious individuals may decide to steal the photos and use them for marketing purposes or worse, solicit for funds by claiming the baby needs some expensive medical procedure.
As a rule of thumb, trust your guts in online interactions, when something feels spooky, it probably is. Better safe than sorry.
These are just a few of safe practices you can adopt to stay safe on social media. There are numerous we’ll share on subsequent posts.