Home Newsletter Featured Article | A Pothole in Your Pathway: Social Media Privacy Pointers

Featured Article | A Pothole in Your Pathway: Social Media Privacy Pointers

Featured Article | A Pothole in Your Pathway: Social Media Privacy Pointers

If you share personal information on your accounts, consider setting your account to private. Technology settings have workarounds, and your account can be hacked using phishing scams and other social engineering techniques. You expose personal information to unknown others online by accepting friend or follower requests from people you don’t know in person, or by inadvertently connecting to an imposter account. (You know–that unofficial celebrity Twitter account that readily accepted your follower request, followed back and is now sending you messages and comments?) Have you ever heard of people-search engines? These sites are, to quote, “the place to find the person behind the email address, social username, or phone number” (Pipl). This means that anyone, not just skilled hackers, can easily find other information about you if they got a hold of any one of those pieces of information. This is, no doubt, at least a little unsettling, and it should be even more motivation to think twice before sharing personal information.

Many teens today have been going online since childhood, and some may have learned from i-SAFE lessons about online privacy. Since elementary school, we have been taught to avoid sharing our personal information with others online such as real name, e-mail address and hometown. However, as we become more involved with our digital communities, social networks, and use online systems as a regular part of daily life, we grow comfortable with sharing information–especially when we do not immediately see any harmful effects arising from our online actions and interactions. Although teens utilize privacy settings more often than in the past, it’s easy to gradually grown numb to the importance of information privacy and security (Pew, 2013).With our future plans fast approaching –college loans, buying a car, renting an apartment, etc.– it’s better to be more secure than sorry when it comes to protecting our identities.

Tip: Keep your social media accounts set to private and be selective with friends and followers.

Besides social media, online shopping is another activity that is becoming a part of our lives. With many banks allowing checking accounts for teens 16 or older, many of us enjoy the freedom of being able to order anything online without going through our parents beforehand (Carrins, 2016). Keep in mind, however, that as you become less monitored by your parents, you inherit the responsibility of keeping your information secure when shopping online. Make wise choices and do research before purchasing. Card-not-present fraud, or “transactions where the physical credit/debit card does not need to be present, including online shopping,” has jumped 40 % since 2015 (Javelin, 2017)

We mentioned earlier that varying login information on your social media accounts reduces the chances of unauthorized access, but this is of the utmost importance when managing your online bank account. Vice president of Javelin Research, says “Our [password] hygiene is very poor, and criminals know it” (Pascual et. al, 2017).

Tip: Make sure your account information for your bank account is especially distinct from any other accounts you have.

Now that you’ve ensured to create strong usernames and passwords, it’s important to know how to stay secure when shopping online. One way is to refrain ffrom logging into banking sites or using your credit card information on public computers (in libraries, schools, etc.), on a phone, or any other device which does not belong to you. In addition, making financial transactions of any kind while connected to public Wi-Fi presents a real risk for fraud. If you don’t need a password to connect to the Wi-Fi, neither does a hacker, which makes public Wi-Fi networks and hotspots the perfect place for someone to gain unfiltered access to data –like your credit card information– by sniffing out the wireless signals flowing to and from your personal device. Also, be sure to shop on secure websites. For example, online retailers that have buyer protections and use a secure sockets layer, or SSL, are more secure than retail sites that don’t have these features. (Hint: You can tell if a site uses SSL by locating the little lock icon in your browser.) Merchant sites that are on the higher risk scale have vague customer service policies, poor reviews, or even fake reviews.

When shopping online, here are some questions to ask yourself: Does the site have contact information for customer service such as a phone number or e-mail? Is the phone number in working order? Does the site use SSL?

Tip: Only shop on your personal computer and on private Wi-Fi networks. Make sure the seller you are buying from is trustworthy.

When someone mentions “online shopping,” what comes to mind?

Does Cyber Monday ring a bell? Keep these tips in mind and more during holiday shopping season!

Follow these 8 tips to prevent identity theft, and then share them on social media!
Go to Article → iDrive Agent: 8 Tips to Prevent Identity Theft on Social Media

Think that identity theft is just for “old folk?” Think again. Discover why teens are prime targets for this online crime.
Go to Article → Featured Article | A Pothole in Your Pathway: Teen Identity Theft

Consider how much information you share on your social media profile and in your posts. Are you aiding in your own identity theft by giving away Pieces of Information?
Go to Article → Featured Article | A Pothole in Your Pathway: Pieces of Information

Find out how your online actions can allow a devious individual to access your account as easily as saying “Open Sesame.”
Go to Article → Featured Article | A Pothole in Your Pathway: Open Sesame

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“Teens, Social Media, and Privacy.” Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech. 21 May 2013. Web. www.pewinternet.org/2013/05/21/teens-social-media-and-privacy-3/

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