Friday, February 17, 2017

#IShouldntHaveClicked — Be smart and stay safe on social media

(NC) Many of us love sharing on social networks — whether that's pictures of our family, information about an upcoming vacation, or updates on a new fitness trend we're trying out. But with so much personal information out there, it's easy for scammers to get hold of your money or steal your identity.

With the growing popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites, it's important to be careful about how much information we share, where, and with whom. Canadians lose millions of dollars every year from these kinds of vicious attacks, so be on the lookout at all times.

Protect yourself by being mindful when using social media:

1. Be password savvy. Create strong passwords and ensure that they're unique and challenging so scammers won't be able to guess them. A good password is one that's easy to remember but hard to guess. Make it a habit to change your passwords regularly and use different ones for different sites. Don't save them to your browser — a password management tool is much safer and can help you keep track of them all.

2. Explore your privacy settings. Managing your settings wisely can help avoid any unwanted attention to your social media pages. Adjust your settings to select who can access your personal information, photos and posts.

3. Avoid oversharing. While social media encourages the sharing of personal information, avoid revealing too many personal details. Scammers can use this to track down information that allows them to steal your identity. Remember, just because you post something in a private group or with advanced privacy settings doesn't mean that someone won't take a screen shot and share it.

4. Be careful where you click. There are many attention-grabbing links, photos and articles that pop-up, but don't click on just anything. While these sites may look legitimate, they can contain programs that attempt to take your contact information and share it.

5. Stay alert and cautious. Be vigilant about who you communicate with online and how you verify their identity. Be extra cautious when people online ask you to do something. Never click on suspicious links, and never share personal or financial information unless you can absolutely trust the person on the other end and verify that they are who they say they are.

Find more information at www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/fraud.

www.newscanada.com