Burnsville, Minnesota – April 22, 2016 – Spring has sprung and it’s a great time to wipe the slate clean and start fresh. While it’s important to securely dispose of physical documents that contain sensitive information in order to protect your identity, Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota ® (BBB) also recommends adding social media cleaning to your spring cleaning regimen.
“Your digital footprint is something identity thieves keep track of,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. “They bank on people oversharing information that they can potentially use to steal your identity.”
Taking steps to guard your identity online is just as important as taking steps to protect it offline. Identity theft is an issue which could potentially affect anyone, particularly those who are active on social media. The information you share through those channels can pile up quickly, especially if you’re a regular user.
Not sure where to start? Here are some basic social media spring cleaning tips to keep in mind:
Be careful what you share. Social media serves as a vehicle to stay in touch with friends and family, but it’s important to keep track of what you share and who can see those updates. If you’re not sure who can access your information, carefully review privacy and security settings to ensure that your information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Take advantage of Facebook’s security checkup feature to manage who sees your Facebook posts, the applications you agree to share your information with, and the personal detail you provide on your profile. In Facebook, you can hide your information – including posts and photos – from people you don’t know by managing your privacy settings.
Personal information. If possible, try to eliminate any personal information in your profile such as your address, phone number, email address, your birthday, or any other information that identity thieves can use to their advantage. Scammers are sometimes able to use this information to crack security questions and gain access to accounts you control.
Clean up your passwords. If you haven’t changed your passwords in recent memory, it might be time to do so. The more complex your passwords are, the safer your sensitive information will be. It’s a good idea to use a different password for each account. Also, never store your passwords on your computer.
Apps and quizzes. In Facebook and Twitter, you can manage which external apps you share your information with. If you choose to utilize an application through social media sites, take a minute to review the permissions to learn more about what personal or account information they’ll have access to and how it will be used. In addition, it’s also important to avoid suspect quizzes. Though Facebook quizzes can be entertaining, it’s important to understand the potential dangers of providing your personal information to unfamiliar third party websites, including the possibility of exposing your device to malware.