To Share or Not To Share?


To post or not to post?

When it comes to sharing information on social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Blogger, Myspace, StumbleUpon, etc.), what is safe to share and what isn’t?

Many of us have no hesitation to fill out every available box of information on a new profile that we create for any given social media site. What is your address? Date of birth? Where have you lived in the past? Who is your spouse? Etc. Etc. However, there is a potential risk associated with sharing these details online.

Check one of your online profiles and see if you have any of the following information listed there:

  • Date of Birth
  • Home Town (place of birth)
  • Home Address
  • Phone Number
  • High School (or College) Name
  • Year of Graduation

The majority of us went ahead and filled out all of that information without thinking twice. Why not share all of these details with our friends? We don’t mind letting them in on our lives.

The problem isn’t so much with our friends having this information. It’s when unsavory characters and criminals who would want to do you harm gets a hold of your information. Then it becomes a problem.

Despite our best efforts in locking down our privacy settings, it is a simple matter for someone who knows what they’re doing to get by all of those walls and see all of the information that you have willingly published on our profiles. And with that information, we open ourselves up to the ugly world of identity theft.

With just two pieces of information, your date of birth and your place of birth, identity thieves can actually predict the first 5 digits of your social security number. And how easily do we give out that last 4?

When resetting online passwords to banks, credit cards, email accounts, etc. usually our security questions revolve around information that is often times listed on our profiles. Facebook and other social media platforms have become a goldmine for identity thieves. They can discover just about everything about you from what you list there.

Ever posted one of these statuses?

  • “Not home right now”
  • “Heading to …”
  • “Going on vacation!”
  • “House to myself.”
  • “I am at…” — or using the popular “Check-In” feature to check in to your favorite restaurant or store.

By posting any one of these you are alerting the larger community that you are not home. Or maybe your child is home alone and excited about it, but what does that open him or her up to? At this point it becomes very easy to see that those with less than favorable intentions could take advantage of this information and break into your home when you’re not there because you’ve told the world where you are.

The moral of the story is: THINK BEFORE YOU POST. If you don’t there can be some seriously damaging consequences. Check back next week for our favorite tip on how to know what is acceptable to post or not.

© 2016 Mark Seguin