Privacy’s a rarity these days, and your beloved social media sites are largely to blame for that. But there are things you are doing on those sites that are making the situation even worse. Before you ever hit “share” again, make sure you’re not posting one of these six things.
1. Your home and work addresses
“Duh,” you think. But we’re not just talking about typing your whole address onto your Facebook profile. “Checking in” and geotagging photos can give away your address even when you don’t realize are. For instance, you know how you can create your own geotags for Instagram photos? When you do this, it pulls the location of where you’re currently at. So if all your made-up geotags point to the same location, some creep can assume that’s where you live or work.
Also be mindful of other people who may tag your address. One time a friend “checked in” to my apartment on Facebook — address and all — without asking for permission. Not OK.
2. Certain photos of kids
If there’s one time you should be extra, extra careful, it’s when it comes to children and social media. When they’re not your own kids, you should always get permission from their parents before you post anything. And even if they are your kids, you still want to steer clear of uploading these compromising images, including where they go to school.
3. Vacation details
Telling people you’re away from home for an extended period time is an invite for robbers to break in. This doesn’t mean you can’t post photos from your trip while you’re on vacation. Just limit this to a select, trustworthy group of people as opposed to your entire network. And never post your entire itinerary (“I’m in Madrid Oct. 10 to 17, Berlin Oct. 17 to 25, and Rome Oct. 25 to 31 before flying back home. Know anyone in those cities who might want to hang out with a new friend?”).
4. Password clues
Online security questions aren’t the strongest, especially when they require information that you could easily give away on social networks. The small town where you grew up, your childhood pet’s name, where you were married, your first boyfriend’s name — these are all specific details your larger social circle doesn’t need to know anyway.
5. Private photos
We’re not assuming you would ever post nude photos on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. But you may Direct Message or Snapchat them. That’s still a bad idea, seeing as how no one but you can be trusted with those photos these days.
6. Credit card or financial information
Yup, some people post pictures of their credit cards on social media (please say you’re not one of them). But less obvious details you might unintentionally give away through Facebook or Twitter conversations: what bank you use and your income range. Even your birth date and place give hackers enough details to access your financial information.