Being a social media safety presenter, I am regularly asked “why do I need to worry about whether people can find information about me on social media – I don’t have anything to hide?”
Firstly – it’s actually not about you. It’s about other people and their bad behaviour.
Let me elaborate. You are thinking about your behaviour – I’m a good person, I don’t do anything wrong or awful, so why should I hide that? Your need to take steps to protect yourself online is about OTHER PEOPLE’S behaviour. Online crimes are all too common these days.
- There are predators that target people of all ages, all genders, all cultures and in every area of the world.
- There are people who have nothing better to do than troll people on social networking sites. If you accidentally catch their eye, it may not be just that they swear at you and try to rally other people to harass you online, but if they can find out information about you, you could very well have too many pizzas or a dump truck full of dirt turn up at your house! ….and this is best case scenario.
- There are people who are wanting to talk to people that would be more likely to talk to you than to them if they used their own photos and details. They might use your photos and hurt other people – ultimately creating chaos in your life when the police turn up at your house to investigate your involvement in fraud, abduction, assault, or even murder.
Anyone – yes ANYONE can become a target to a badly behaved person. At the time that a badly behaved person decides to target you, do you want them to know where you live, who your family is and where your children can be found?
Second – Have you ever giggled to yourself about how insane it seems that we are still asked the same 3 security questions before organisations will speak to us over the phone about our accounts? What’s your address, what’s your birth date and what is your mother’s maiden name. ….all of this information can be found on plenty of social media accounts about plenty of people. You don’t need to fill in the option for your birthday – on the 7th May everyone wished you Happy 28th Birthday on Facebook and you didn’t have your account set to stop these posts being public. You haven’t said “my mum’s maiden name is Rogers” on your Instagram account – but the people referring to you as “cuz” and Uncle Damo all have the surname Rogers when your surname is Carmichael. …and the photo of mum and her brother Damian cements the fact. You didn’t write anywhere on Twitter that you live at 29 Jones St Jonesville – but posted a photo of yourself studying in your bedroom with a map attached.
So, it doesn’t matter if you are the perfect image of a well-behaved citizen, what matters is that when your life takes an unexpected turn and a horrible person crosses your path – you have no strings for them to grab hold of to create havoc in your life!