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Use Social Media Wisely During The Holiday Season

By in Internet Security, Social Media

With Christmas just weeks away the pressure to get everything done - from sending Christmas cards, entertaining, to finding the perfect gifts for everyone on your list - can be overwhelming.

In addition to these ordinary pressures is the habit (or desire) to keep friends and family informed about your offline activities via popular social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and other sites.

Although social media updates are a great way to keep in touch or to share pictures and videos, giving away too much ‘live time’ information about your whereabouts could put you at risk of being victimized while you’re away from your home.

Here are some tips to help safeguard your family, your home and your belongings while you’re busy making holiday cheer:

  • If you’re planning to travel away from home for the holidays, avoid the urge to publicly post about your travel plans, including where you’re headed, what day you’ll be leaving and what day you expect to return. This gives opportunity seekers the chance to invade your home while you aren’t there to protect it.
  • If you’re going away for an extended period of time, be sure to stop your mail and newspaper delivery. A stack of old newspapers piling up in your driveway is a sure sign that no one is home.
  • Hire a ‘housesitter’ to keep an eye on things while you’re away. If you can’t do this, use timers to periodically turn lights on and off in your home - simulating that someone is there.
  • Don’t share pictures live time. Even though it’s always fun to share pictures, it’s a good idea to wait until later to upload and share photos that could alert people that you’re away from home.
  • Turn off GPS tracking on your mobile device and disable the location feature at Social Media Websites to avoid divulging details about where you are geographically.
  • Don’t discuss big ticket item purchases online. If someone knows that you have  a 10 carat diamond necklace, expensive electronics and other costly gifts under the tree (or hidden somewhere in your home) and they have a criminal mindset, they might target your home for theft ahead of Christmas morning.
  • Review your privacy settings and set permissions for who is able to view your online status updates. While it might be OK to keep your closest and most trusted friends “in the loop,” you might not want to share every update with everyone on your friends list.
  • Be careful about what personal information you share online. Avoid posting sensitive information such as what year you were born, your physical address or other details that could put you or your identity at risk of theft.

The holidays are a great time time to share and care for others, but don’t forget the importance of staying safe while engaging with others at social media websites. Giving away too much information can prove to be a costly mistake, and not one you want to deal with during the busy (and highly anticipated) holiday season.

I hope you find these tips helpful and that you’ll share this post with your friends to emphasize the importance of smart social media use - especially during the busy holiday season.