The holiday season brings entertaining parties, fun presents and shopping excursions. However, online shopping, social media posts, and other sources of holiday fun do have the potential to create safety issues if you’re not careful with what you post and how you use your social media accounts. Consider these simple guidelines for creating a safe and rewarding online holiday experience this season.
1. Click with Care
People share pictures and videos with wild abandon on today’s social media websites. It’s important to look at what you’re clicking when you see a photograph or link posted by one of your friends on a social media website. According to virus prevention company McAfee, digital e-cards are a popular way of spreading viruses and getting unsuspecting web surfers to download malicious software.
As with any area of online web surfing, clicking on unknown web addresses is always something to avoid. If you aren’t familiar with a company or website, do a simple Google search before you click on a link to determine whether the video or picture is hosted on a legitimate website. Hackers can take over a person’s social media account and post dangerous links, so use caution whenever you click.
2. Real Life Security and Digital Sharing
Hopefully, you’re already utilizing smart privacy habits online by not sharing your personal information with anyone and by restricting who can see your posts and photographs on social media sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Accidentally sharing your phone number with the public could lead to problems with virtual identity theft, and it could even lead to real-life security problems if that phone number were linked with your home address.
The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse suggests that you never share personal information like birth date, age, or where you were born, even with your close friends or family. Consider that if their social media account were hacked, your personal information could be compromised.
3. Think Before You Post Pictures
You might want everyone to see that adorable picture of the kids when they were opening presents for Christmas while on vacation, but there are several reasons why you might want to delay posting pictures or avoid posting them at all to social media websites.
Consider that posting a picture of yourself while on vacation lets viewers of your social media accounts know that you’re away and may not be home. What better way for a thief to figure out if your home is worth burglarizing than to get confirmation that you’re not home?
4. Don’t Forget Shopping Safety
The popularity of “Cyber Monday” has practically eclipsed that of Black Friday, and the increase in the number of people shopping online has led to some significant security breaches and hacking activity in the past few years.
According to a survey conducted by Webroot, about half of the shoppers surveyed suggested they would shop online using a smartphone or tablet, which is a dramatic increase over just a few years ago. Just as it’s important to consider privacy when using social media websites, the same rules should be applied during any holiday purchases that occur online.