Better Business Bureau: Tips to safeguarding your social media accounts

Aug. 11, 2014 at 12:15 p.m.
Updated Aug. 11, 2014 at 5:21 p.m.

Social media sites allow us to easily share and see moments of our friends' and family's lives.

Unfortunately, many often let their guard down online, which may lead to harmful consequences.

The Better Business Bureau reminds you to do your research on the social media site or app before signing up. Be sure to read the privacy policy for a social media site, which tells you exactly what that business can and will do with your information.

Periodically, review your privacy settings on social media sites. Limit your profile views to only people you trust. The bureau requires all Better Business Bureau Accredited Businesses that collect sensitive data to disclose their privacy policies and to protect the sensitive information of their users. Visit to view a company's Business Review.

Keep your personal information safe

The latest security breach is putting your personal information at risk. Reports of username and password leaks along with credit card security issues are cause for alarm.

The bureau warns the public to safeguard private information. It's a good idea to secure all your accounts by changing passwords. Be sure passwords are long and strong, using multiple characters and numbers.

When available, set tight privacy and security settings for information sharing.

It's also a good idea to keep a careful eye on your banking and financial statements. Regularly review them for suspicious purchases or charges. If your credit card information has been compromised, some cons make small charges in hopes of staying under the radar. Report any issues to your financial institution immediately. Find more tips at

Don't get duped by Pinterest scammers

Pinterest is a great way to find websites, tips and do-it-yourself ideas, but unfortunately, it has also become a place for scammers to attempt to get your information or cause you to download harmful malware.

Common scam pins include celebrity and beauty photos, giveaway offers, before and after diet pics and infographics.

The bureau advises you to check before you pin. Take a second to hover on the image and check the destination link. Scammers replace links in popular pins with links to websites housing malware.

It's also a good idea to visit the site and be sure it doesn't lead to a fake site or misleading information. To learn more about scams, "like" your bureau on Facebook or visit

Avoid college ID theft

That first day of college can be invigorating. Young adults are settling into new homes and getting their first taste of real independence. Unfortunately, many are not prepared to handle the responsibility, especially when it comes to their credit and finances.

The bureau warns that college-aged adults are particularly vulnerable to identity theft and related fraudulent crimes.

Follow these simple steps college students can take to protect their identity:

Secure your mail. Campus mailboxes are often easily accessed in a dorm or apartment.

Be sure your important documents are securely stored and disposed of.

It's never a good idea to loan your credit or debit card to anyone.

Students should check their credit report at least once a year.

Tracy Bracy is the regional director of the Better Business Bureau for Corpus Christi/Victoria. Contact her by e-mail at



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