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In the modern age, social media is part of our everyday lives – wherever we go, it follows. Whilst this is good to stay in touch with old friends and up-to-date with what our social circle is doing, it is not good for our exposure to cybercrime and fraud, should we not understand the risk it prevails.
It is estimated that 21 people are defrauded every minute due to oversharing on social media. In a recent survey of 2,000 adults, produced for Get Safe Online Week, it was found that people are vastly unaware of privacy risks and over a third of the UK are experiencing fraud because of it.
In this survey it was also highlighted that 26% of people targeted by fraud because of oversharing didn’t realise they were targeted, 22% did nothing and 32% simply ignored the matter. You can find out more about this survey by visiting Action Fraud.
Every platform is different and privacy settings will differ; depending on what you share. When it comes to Facebook, your settings should be set to private due to the information accessible on this platform such as your email, mobile number, place of work and family/friends, as well as the type of content we share – recent milestones, new home, check-ins, etc.
A random friend request from someone you don’t know? Don’t accept it, no matter how many mutual friends they may have. Just because Tom and Jessica from school look to be friends with them, it doesn’t mean that they aren’t a criminal.
The way we use Instagram and Twitter is entirely different and often depends on the individual. These platforms are a lot more suitable for being open, however, if your account is public then be wary of what you share. An example of a post which could lead to you being defrauded – and one which is all too common – is sharing a picture of your license/letter once you have passed your driving test or your new car. If you insist on sharing these types of posts then cover sensitive information such as a driving number or registration plate and set your account to private, anyone could be a criminal looking to exploit you.
Another key risk to be aware of is location settings in both yours and your children’s phones, this includes social media, apps, cameras and anything else that may reveal your location to someone who could exploit it – it isn’t just about privacy, but also the safety and well-being of you and your family. While we’re on the subject, this also includes sharing holiday snaps while you are away and checking in at locations away from home. Criminals are a lot more tech savvy, you wouldn’t want to return from a holiday or family meal to find your home has been robbed.
Remember, some things are better kept offline. Always consider if what you are sharing is worth the risk – be aware of what you share.