Take Steps to Protect Your Social Media Accounts

 

Since identity thieves commonly use the Internet as a source of information about their intended victims, it’s becoming increasingly important to do everything in one’s power to protect personal data from online criminals.

 

One source of information for thieves is social media, so it’s vital you ensure your privacy by taking steps to protect yourself when using social media.

 

As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission explains, “The Internet has made our lives easier in so many ways. However, you need to know how you can protect your privacy and avoid fraud.  Remember, not only can people be defrauded when using the Internet for investing; the fraudsters use information online to send bogus materials, solicit or phish.”

 

To point you in the right direction toward social media security, Victory State Bank, the only community-based commercial bank in Staten Island, N.Y., suggests that you:

 

§  ADJUST YOUR PRIVACY SETTINGS, IF NEEDED 

Always check the default privacy settings when opening an account on a social media website. The default privacy settings on many social media websites are typically broad and may permit sharing of information to a vast online community. Modify the setting, if appropriate, before posting any information on a social media website.

 

§  MINIMIZE BIOGRAPHICAL CONTENT

Many social media websites require biographical information to open an account. You can limit the information made available to other social media users. Consider customizing your privacy settings to minimize the amount of biographical information others can view on the website.

 

§  DON’T SHARE ACCOUNT INFORMATION 

Never give account information, Social Security numbers, bank information or other sensitive financial information on a social media website. If you need to speak to a financial professional, use a firm-sponsored method of communication, such as telephone, letter, firm e-mail or firm-sponsored website.

 

§  CHOOSE FRIENDS AND CONTACTS CAUTIOUSLY 

When choosing friends or contacts on a social media site, think about why you use the website. Decide whether it is appropriate to accept a “friend” or other membership request from a financial service provider, such as a financial adviser or broker-dealer. There is no obligation to accept a “friend” request of a service provider or anyone you do not know or do not know well.

 

§  UNDERSTAND THE SITE’S FUNCTIONALITY 

Familiarize yourself with the functionality of the social media website before broadcasting messages on the site. Who will be able to see your messages – only specified recipients, or all users?

 

Source: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission