We’ve detailed below our top tips for staying safe on social media and having fun.
Keep your account secure
It’s essential to keep your social media passwords safe. Fraudsters can easily access passwords that are short or easy to guess.
Don’t use the same password on different accounts, change your passwords regularly and don’t share them with anyone else. For further advice on password protection, check out our blog ‘4 Tips to Avoid Online Fraud’.
Check your privacy settings
Most social media platforms let you change your privacy settings so only certain people can view your posts. Instagram and Twitter let you make your account private so only people connected with you can see what you write.
If you’re not sure how to check your privacy settings, ask a friend or family member to take a look at them for you.
Think before you post
While it’s nice to keep family and friends up to date with everything going on in your life, it’s vital to make sure you don’t put yourself or anyone else at risk.
You may want to show off your holiday photos, but it’s best to wait until you’re back home. Otherwise, you could be advertising to burglars that your house is empty.
Another tactic scammers use is to post a ‘viral’ challenge that ask you to comment the answers to questions like the name of your first pet or your mother’s maiden name as a ruse to find your ‘movie star name’. However, these are actually common security questions and they then use the answers to reset your passwords online.
Take care to avoid giving away too much personal information about yourself and your loved ones.
Be wary of fake friends
Some social media platforms let you connect with people you don’t know in real life. While this can be a great way to meet new friends, be mindful that some people may be out to scam you.
If someone you don’t know messages you asking for money or tells you to click on a link you don’t trust, don’t be afraid to block and report them.
Don’t give away financial information
There is never a good excuse to share financial information on social media. Criminals can use this information to take money out of your bank account or make purchases that you end up paying for.
Don’t share credit card numbers, PINs or images of your bank cards, even if someone who claims to be acting in an official capacity asks you to. Your bank, or service provider will never contact you first via social media.
Consider friends and loved ones
People use social media in different ways. While some of your friends might be happy to be tagged in your photos, others may feel uncomfortable. Take the time to ask if it’s okay to tag or mention them before posting.
This is especially important when uploading photos of children. Always ask parents or carers if they are okay with you sharing pictures on social media before you start taking snaps.
Don’t share ‘fake news’
Social media platforms are full of interesting news stories but can also contain a lot of misinformation that spreads quickly when shared or retweeted.
Take a few seconds to read any articles before sharing them to make sure they’re accurate and come from a reliable source.
Know about scams and frauds
As with many things in life, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Don’t give your personal details to anyone you don’t know and remember that it’s perfectly fine to ignore messages you don’t trust. Citizens Advice has a great walkthrough guide that will tell you if a message or email you’ve received is potentially fraudulent.
Find out more about avoiding online fraud.
Give direct messaging a try
If you want to communicate with a small group of friends or family, direct (or private) messaging can be a fantastic way to do this.
Remember that the internet never forgets
The internet is a public place, and anything you post could potentially be used against you in the future. Even if you delete a post, someone could screenshot it.
Avoid saying anything abusive, offensive or illegal. If in doubt, take a breather before clicking the ‘post’ button.
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