Social Media has arrived in force. By now, everyone knows what this is and is somewhat involved. The most recent “Giraffe Riddle” that has gone viral on Facebook is a perfect example of what Social Media is and has become. You cannot open a browser without seeing a giraffe. Whether you click on it or not is up to you, however, if you can’t beat them…. Join them.
For those who may have missed the “Giraffe Riddle” I’ll explain. If you incorrectly answer the riddle, you must change your Facebook profile picture to a giraffe. Any giraffe picture you choose. It is amusing to see all the giraffes when you log in. What is the riddle? Okay, I’ll let you in on it, but I’m not giving the answer.
“It’s 3 am, the doorbell rings and you wake up. Unexpected visitors. It’s your parents and they are there for breakfast. You have strawberry jam, honey, wine, bread and cheese. What is the first thing you open?”
While you are pondering the riddle, are you realizing how much information you, or your children, are sharing? Facebook, Twitter Google Plus, LinkedIn and many other social media sites gather information and share it across cyberspace. Identity thieves are able to access personal information as easy as you can view cousin Sally’s pictures of her new grandbaby. While it is nice to share the wedding album of Tom and Sue, and embarrassing pictures of you at the company Christmas party, the information we provide should be carefully distributed. Here are some helpful tips in keeping your social life and surfing cyberspace safe.
- Keeping things secret IS possible. When signing up for social media profiles the only “real” information you must provide is an accessible email for confirmation and activation. There are settings to keep this information hidden or private. While you do have to complete the requests, you do not have to use your real first and last name or your real birthday. Check the settings often to insure they are marked private or friends only. If you do use false credentials, make sure you remember the “fake” info for future reference, if needed. You may want to create an email address to be used only for social media sites. Never post your phone number or street address to your social media profile.
- Understand that while you have restricted your posts and pics to certain “friends”, it is possible that others can see and access some of them. Although it is very cool to have many friends, limiting your requests to only people you know is a good practice. There are also friends of friends of friends, etc.
- Think before you post. You are very excited about your upcoming vacation and want to alert all your friends that you might be away from Facebook for a week, but you will be back with tons of pics. They will appreciate the notice, however, so will the thieves and burglars. If they have your personal location and you have now told them when your house will be empty, you may as well tell them the key is under the rock.
- A profile picture is becoming a requirement with most sites. This does not necessarily have to be a photo of you. Hence, we have the giraffes. You may want to consider a pet, a flower or another object that is unidentifiable to thieves. Also, another good rule of thumb, ask yourself if it is something you would want your Mother or your children to see.
- Keep your social media log-ins private. When someone else has access to your site, there is no telling what might get posted. This is especially crucial to kids. Cyber-bullying is usually accomplished through “hacked” sites. It is easy to “un-friend” and block unwanted riffraff from your site. Just because it is the world-wide-web doesn’t mean you have to allow everyone access. Check the settings.
- Finally, watch your credit. Whether you are paperless or you receive a statement in the mail. Check your credit cards often. The faster you find out someone is using your identity, the better off you will be. Monitoring these, and your site, regularly will help keep your information safe.
It’s a big, big world out there. Social Medias are taking over. If you can’t beat them, join them. Just make sure it is as safe as possible.