By Rosalyn Eishen | @rosalynchoo Going out of town next week for Thanksgiving? Doing a bit of all-day Christmas shopping? Watch out social media lovers—use your social profiles wisely. Social media is all about sharing your life, but we've all heard the scary stories about others using social media for evil. From sex offenders targeting minors to thieves trying to make a quick steal, some out there could potentially take advantage of the wealth of personal information we make available and turn your holidays a little less jolly.
So here are a few tips about how to play it smart with social media this holiday season:
- Don’t post on Facebook that you’re at home alone drinking your troubles away after a horrible Christmas party (especially if you’re female). You wouldn't leave the door unlocked or walk down a dark alley by yourself would you? Well, then watch your back on social media too.
- Hide your belongings! We see this warning in every parking lot now for a reason. Don’t leave a GPS device in the car in the parking lot while Christmas shopping. Not only are thieves stealing GPS out of cars, they are now pushing the right buttons to discover the location of the owner’s house, and (seeing as though the owner is out shopping) can then break in with confidence and undetection.
- Don’t use Foursquare to let everyone know that your family is vacationing away over the holidays. Geolocation is like welcoming burglars to your house with a glass of milk and stack of cookies. You've seen Home Alone, right? Unfortunately, home burglaries happen, and holidays are a popular time of year for thieves.
- Don’t post pictures of your brand new sleek HDTV that your Aunt Claire bought you for Christmas. Any thief looking for a shiny new toy may have just found it. It could be stolen and end up for sale on Craigslist faster than it took to upload the photos.
- Don’t leave your cell phone lying around at a holiday party—there are many ways one could use this against you, so I’d say it’s the most important “don’t” of this article. You’re address is probably stored somewhere on your phone, either in Google Maps or in a text message inviting a friend over. Do you use your phone for social networking? For work? For checking your bank account? If your passwords are stored automatically in your mobile data, then you’re definitely in trouble.
Social media safety is just common sense, like leaving the porch light on and having someone pick up your newspaper when you’re out of town. Don’t let the grinches steal your Christmas- be smart about privacy and social media.