Social Media Safety

Securing Key Accounts

A SCARS Insight

Your Social Media Platforms

Staying Safe Online Is No Joke!

Social media platforms have become an integral part of online lives. Social networks are a great way to stay connected with others, but you should be wary about how much personal information you post. Staying safe online requires knowledge and skill, and the sooner you learn this the better off you will be!

Have your family, friends, and community follow these tips to better assure safety on social media.

Privacy and security settings exist for a reason:

Learn about and use the privacy and security settings on social networks. They are there to help you control who sees what you post and manage your online experience in a positive way. Use Google to find how to properly configure the privacy & security settings for your social media.

Once posted, always posted:

Protect your reputation on social networks. What you post online stays online. Think twice before posting pictures you wouldn’t want your parents or future employers to see. Recent research found that 70 percent of job recruiters rejected candidates based on information they found online.

Your online reputation can be a good thing:

Recent research also found that recruiters respond to a strong, positive personal brand online. So show your smarts, thoughtfulness, and mastery of the environment.

Whatever you post will tell someone something about you. Look at your profiles as others might see them, what does it say about you?

Keep personal info personal:

Be cautious about how much personal information you provide on social networking sites. The more information you post, the easier it may be for a hacker or someone else to use that information to steal your identity, access your data or commit other crimes such as stalking.

  • Keep everything private
  • Never post photos of you or your family in public places
  • Do not publicly post information about where you are or where you are going

Know and manage your friends:

Social networks can be used for a variety of purposes. Some of the fun is creating a large pool of friends from many aspects of your life. That doesn’t mean all friends are created equal. Use tools to manage the information you share with friends in different groups or even have multiple online pages. If you’re trying to create a public persona as a blogger or expert, create an open profile or a “fan” page that encourages broad participation and limits personal information. Use your personal profile to keep your real friends (the ones you know and trust) up to date with your daily life.

Remember, if you have never met them for real – they are not real friends!

Be honest if you’re uncomfortable:

If a friend posts something about you that makes you uncomfortable or seems inappropriate, let them know. Likewise, stay open-minded if a friend approaches you because something you’ve posted makes him or her uncomfortable. People have different tolerances for how much the world knows about them respect those differences. If necessary, report the post to the platform – harassment and bullying are never acceptable.

Know what action to take:

If someone is harassing or threatening you, remove them from your friend’s list, block them and report them to the site administrator.

If you find a fake or a profile impersonating someone report it to the platform and to

Keep security software current:

Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats. Add security plugins or extensions to your browser, such as Malware Bytes.

Own your online presence:

When applicable, set the privacy and security settings on these websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.

Make your passphrase a sentence:

A strong passphrase is a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember (for example, “I love country music.”). On many sites, you can even use spaces!

Unique account, unique passphrase:

Having separate passphrases for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure that your critical accounts have the strongest passphrases. Use a password manager app and have a written log book of all your accounts and passwords in case the app is not available or for emergencies (SCARS publishes a Password Log Book on our fundraising store at

When in doubt, throw it out:

Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.

Post only about others as you have them post about you:

The Golden Rule applies online as well.

Online Crime Is Real Crime:

There are real monsters online – never forget that! Everywhere you go online there are going to be criminals after you. These could be scammers or fraudsters, but they could be even more serious. Cyberstalking is common. But even worse, human traffickers find their victims online.

Make sure that everyone you know, knows about the dangers, especially your children. Online criminals know how to manipulate and coerce their victims. Make sure everyone understands that they can come to you for help and advice!

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