Even if you already consider yourself adept at social media, consider some simple ways that you can make yourself more secure. Lower your risk of identity theft and embarrassment with these tips.

1. Google Yourself

Photo of a person taking a photograph of themself in a mirrorIt’s the first step, and you’re probably already feeling more than a little anxious. There’s no way to know what’s public about you unless you stalk yourself, and I recommend using your browser’s “Private” or “Incognito” mode (to ensure that you are logged out of your social media accounts) whilst doing so. You may find that your online image is a little warped from what you had imagined in your mind, and that’s OK. Note everything that you don’t want the public to see, and what platform it’s on, so that you can…

2. Change Your Privacy Settings

Each of the major platforms let you adjust or delete most of your content accordingly. Old tweets can be deleted (just ask all the former White House communications staff directors), Facebook lets you adjust global privacy settings (affecting your profile, content, etc.) but also the settings for each post that you make. And yes, you can delete those too.

3. Remove Public Posts That Reveal Security Question Answers. Now.

Have a really awesome dog that you post all over your social media, including in totally public posts? Is their name the answer to all of your Security Questions for resetting passwords to your accounts (including social media, banking, etc.)? Change the question and answer – now! This is one really easy way that people get compromised. Same goes for easily Google-able stuff, such as your parent’s maiden names, etc. Choose strong Security Questions that only you really know the answer to. Your mother’s maiden name can probably be found easily on social media, but who knows which teacher was your favorite in elementary school?

4. Understand That All Your Posts May Not Be Private

Even if you have a Facebook account that is totally Private (save for added friends and family), if you comment on someone else’s post, or a public post (such as a company, politician, etc.) then your comment may be seen by the general public, and yes, anyone searching you on Google. Be careful how you engage in the public realm of social media – assume that anyone may potentially see it, and at the very least, be willing to accept the potential consequences of your statements.

Want to know more ways to stay safe? Check out a comprehensive list on our website.