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Pucker up for a selfie and set your Snapchat filter with dog ears – it is World Social Media Day! If we divide tech users into two groups, the casual account holders and the social media fanatics, this event can mean very different things. The casual user might see social media as a necessary evil, a tool that everyone seems to have to have, even if they do not use it regularly. To the ultra-fans, social media is a way of life, every day is truly World Social Media Day to these users.

Each viewpoint is valid and a matter of personal choice. However, when it comes to protecting yourself online, there are different concerns for each kind of user.

The Casual User

If you have a Facebook account but never use it, or you signed up for Twitter but cannot remember the last time you tweeted something, you might be a casual user. You might use social media for group communications once in a while or post the occasional photo. For those reasons, you might be at risk of being hacked or spoofed.

When someone hacks into or copies your account, they can target your friends and family for information and money. They can also turn the tables by pretending to be you, and ask for sensitive information about your identity or comprise your reputation.

If you are a casual user, there is good news. Your password is your best friend. Since you will not be logging in and out regularly, feel free to make an unbreakably long, complicated password. If you did need to log in and are no longer able to access your account with this impossible password, simply click Forgot My Password and sign in via the password change link in your email – make sure it is a password reset you actually requested before clicking any link. You can also choose difficult security questions that are not very common, to keep a hacker from accessing the answers and using them on your other accounts. Celebrate World Social Media by taking these precautions on your accounts.

The Social Media Fanatic

Congratulations, your obsession with online updates is now considered practically commonplace. Like millions of Americans, you think of social media as a way of life, a handy tool and just plain fun. But there is nothing fun about being targeted by a social media scammer or hacker.

If someone is checking their accounts routinely, you might think it would be easy to spot something out of the ordinary. Instead, people with high friend or follower counts and lots of posts are an easy target for someone to spoof their account. Instead of trying to hack into an unused account, scammers create a new one that looks just like the original. They reach out to the original account’s followers and lure them in with a new friend request, trying to capitalize on their reach.

One way to avoid a spoofer is to make sure your privacy settings are as strict as your comfort level. If you are trying to meet and connect with new people, your settings might be a little more open. But if you are only want to connect with people you know, there is no reason to leave your posts open to the public.

Depending on the platform, you may not have much control over who can see them. Therefore, it is important to avoid oversharing, something that can become a real problem when you spend so much time letting others see glimpses into your daily life. Avoid personal details, overly specific references to your home and workplace, photos that include geotags or identifiable locations and stay safe this World Social Media Day!


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