The dangers of using social media – part 2

In Part 1, we expressed concern at dangers of posting seemingly innocent information and the ease with which your personal information can be shared on social media by your friends.

The more that is known about you, the greater the chance that you can be targeted by a phone or email scam. The caller will be very credible.

It's also worth remembering that our personal lives often represent a 'password pool' as it is from this information that passwords and PIN numbers are often constructed.

So how can you protect yourself?

The answer to this becomes ever more complex as the sophistication of the scams and the sources of data replicate, but there are some general precautions that you can use to protect yourself and your personal information:

friends on facebook

Our Tips:

  • Friends: Choose them with great care. Keep the numbers low - go for quality, not quantity. A survey of 3,000 Britons found that 44 per cent have Facebook friends or Twitter followers that they have never met.
  • Privacy Settings: Regularly review your privacy settings to keep them as tight as possible. Use additional security settings wherever possible.
  • Look for additional security settings: Facebook has a range of additional security features that you can use.
  • Log out: Log out of social media sites when using a computer shared with other people.
  • Anti-Virus: Make sure that your computer anti-virus software is up to date.

Password Creation Tips:

  • Use every possible combination of letters, capitals, numbers and permitted special characters.
  • Do not use your pets name, sequences e.g abc123, birthdays, relationships, telephone numbers, car registrations or holidays.
  • Use different passwords for each website:
    1. Fantasy Method - create a fantasy in your mind and use that to base passwords on.
    2. Book Method -
      • Remember ONLY a single book and the co-ordinates of the word you will use e.g. Row 3 word 3 from the left.
      • Choose a different page in the book for each password that you need. Keep a list of things you need passwords for e.g. 'Barclays’ and a page number NOTHING MORE, not the name of the book or the co-ordinates.
      • No one needs to know your book but even if they did they would not know the page co-ordinates. If they found the list, they would not know the book or the co-ordinates.
      • To be extra safe, change your book and use a foreign language or technical reference book as the words are long and not in common usage!

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