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Socially safe in a digital age

Sept. 25, 2010 at 4:25 a.m.


By Chris Guerra

Social media is blowing up all over the country. People of all ages (myself included) are finding themselves more and more drawn to this new and exciting communication medium. Where else can you reconnect with old friends, keep in touch with distant family, and share your day-to-day activities with those you love the most?

Social media is a great tool, and it's here to stay. So here are a few tips to help keep your online experience as safe as possible.

Password Protection Chances are you have multiple online accounts that you log into on a daily or weekly basis. These accounts could include: online banking, eBay, web e-mail, or even something such as your favorite website. One area you may be putting yourself at risk without realizing it is by using the same password to access all of your online accounts. This becomes especially dangerous with social media because the platform is still very new and security is not quite where it should be yet. If your account is hacked, it really doesn't take much effort on the thief's part to gain access to your other online accounts using your password. Always choose different passwords for these accounts and limit your chances of further exposure if your account is compromised.

Information You Share Over-sharing on social media is quickly becoming a major problem across the nation. Never list your home address in your profile information. Take extreme caution when posting status updates that may inadvertently advertise that your home is unoccupied. There have been numerous documented cases in the northern part of the country that show burglars are utilizing social media to scout potential victims. If you're leaving for the weekend, wait until you return home to post those exciting pictures you took and share your memories with your friends and loved ones.

Scams, Scams, and More Scams

Much like when e-mail first popped onto the scene, social media platforms have become a fresh new breeding ground for scammers. Remember to never click on any links that you aren't completely sure of. Avoid clicking on links that use vague titles like "most shocking" or "Is this you," as these are the types of names scammers use to draw you in. If you come across a link that you suspect may be illegitimate, don't hesitate to report it to the social media site you're using.

These are just a few basic tips to help keep you safe, while connecting with your friends, family, and acquaintances through social media.

Recently The Victoria Police Department launched our official Facebook page. If you want a behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of your police department, to stay up to date with the latest crime prevention trends and tips, and even some occasional breaking news; find us on Facebook! www.facebook.com/victoria.tx.police

For more information, contact SPO Chris Guerra, Crime Prevention Unit, 361-485-3808.

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