Social Media Safety

"Privacy settings" on the screen. Woman hands over the keyboard laptop at home interior.If you think social media is just for kids and millenials, think again.  According to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among those age 65 and older has grown 150 percent between 2009 and 2011.  A 2012 study also done by Pew, showed that 34 percent of seniors who are online, use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Generally, seniors who are using social media are viewing posts and photos from friends and family, which can help reduce depression and feelings of isolation.  Still, as great as it is to share photos and videos, you can’t forget about safety. Seniors are a common target for criminals and scammers who studying the social media habits of seniors, as well.  Here are some tips to avoid becoming a victim of a social media scammer/hacker:

Go easy on the selfies and check-ins:

While it is fun to post selfies and mention places that you regularly visit in order for the grandkids to have a window into your life, it also gives a window for burglars and other criminals into your life. If you post online that you meet friends for lunch every Wednesday at a local restaurant, then burglars will know to break into your home on Wednesday between 12 and 1:30 p.m.  Selfies aren’t safe either. Photos taken with smartphones can have data such as time, date and location, which criminals can use to learn about your whereabouts.  So, either shut off your phone’s Global Positioning System or post selfies and check-ins after the fact. You want to be sure you are posting on social media for friends and family, not for criminals.

Don’t post phone numbers, street address, emails address or photos that would identify anything that a thief would want or need. This should be obvious.  If you don’t want telemarketers or weirdos bothering you, don’t make it easy for them to bother you. There are private messaging options on both Facebook and Twitter.  If someone you know doesn’t have a way to contact you outside of social media, you can provide contact information via the messaging option. If someone you don’t know asks for contact information while you are on social media, ignore that person. In addition, if you own antiques, art work or expensive jewelry, it is a good idea not to exclusively feature them. (i.e. “Look at this Peter Max painting I bought in an estate sale.”) Either crop them out of photos or don’t post photos of them on social media in the first place.

Check privacy settings, yet don’t be so quick to post a comment

You should consider that everything you post on social media can be seen by both friend and foe with very little effort. Think twice about posting a rant about your boss or co-worker or something pro or con about a particular politician. An innocent little post to you, might not seem as innocent to others. Still, you can set your social media preferences so that only those who follow you will see those posts. “I have like-minded friends,” you might be thinking. “Wouldn’t that protect me?” No, it won’t, because your friends could share your posts with others and you don’t know who your friends’ friends are.  So, if your post is something that you wouldn’t want on a billboard along I-95, don’t put it on social media.

Being on social media can be a lot of fun.  Still, you need to be careful. You don’t want your posts to get you into trouble. So, using some common sense should keep your social media experience fun.


What Happens to Digital Accounts When You Die?

Facebook login screenSocial media is great, since it lets you can connect with faraway friends and family.  MP3s and online television networks like Hulu and Netflix are fun as well, since they give you the opportunity to enjoy music and television programs on any device and on your schedule.  Of course, let’s not forget about how great email is. Write a message, hit send and it’s off.

Have you ever given any thought to what will happen to your digital accounts when you die?  Like most people, you probably haven’t given much thought to your digital accounts, since it isn’t a physical thing or even an asset.  Still, it is something that you need to consider because your online accounts don’t just disappear when you die. According to Intel Security, the average person has 27 different logins.  Yikes! That’s a lot of passwords to manage, so it would make sense to set up a plan for your digital assets after your death.

Continue Reading What Happens to Digital Accounts When You Die?

What happens to your Facebook account when you die?

Facebook login screenSocial media sites like Facebook and Twitter are a great tool for helping you post updates, photos, even video, so that you can keep up with friends and family. But what happens to your social media accounts when you die and you are the only one who knows the password(s)?

Most people have a plan for what to do with physical items and assets after death, but what about online accounts like social media sites and emails? What happens to them when you die? No one knows how long our online presence will last, and it is possible for someone to hijack your identity after your death based upon information they obtain online. Therefore, if you want to prevent online identity theft and have your online legacy reflect your wishes, you need to have a plan in place.

Continue Reading What happens to your Facebook account when you die?