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If you’ve never taken the time to do an internet search on yourself, you just may be surprised about how many details of your life – past and present – are readily available to the public. Marry that information with even more personal tidbits of your daily movement or activities shared on social media channels, and you are practically handing the keys to your kingdom over to the bad guys, saying, “Come on over and help yourself, I’m away for the day!”
Social media can be a valuable tool that builds relationships and connects you to great resources for learning and personal or business development. But, those rewards also come with risks when you volunteer information, such as family relationships, geographic location and travel plans.
From teens to retirees, those with wealth to those barely scraping by, no one is immune from cyber criminals. Simply put, they want what you have.
If someone compromises your social media account they could potentially pose as you, use available information to guess security questions, or possibly pivot to other accounts with shared passwords. Depending on the information they acquire, they could open accounts in your name or make purchases. All of these can result in hits to your credit score and damage to your reputation.
Protect your personal information and be more aware of your social media activity with these tips:
Bottom line: Assume that whatever you post on social media could become public. If and when you do post to social media, use available security settings whenever possible to ensure the posts are viewable to only family or friends, and never set to “public.” Most reputable social media sites give you ways to protect your privacy from prying eyes. You should take full advantage of all such capabilities. At a minimum, remove any personal information such as birthday, maiden name, phone number and address. Set all photographs to friends/family only and limit personal postings to only friends and family. Lastly, sort followers and friends into proper access groups.
Deborah Guild is chief security officer at PNC
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These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.
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