Is Social Media Putting Your Family At Risk?
In the early morning hours on October 3, 2016, five men dressed as police officers stormed the Paris residence of the world’s most famous reality star, Kim Kardashian West. She was tied up and locked in the bathroom as the thieves made off with millions of dollars worth of jewelry, along with cellphones and credit cards.
Physically Mrs. Kardashian was unharmed from the ordeal.
As French investigators begins to piece together the chain of events through eye witnesses and possible evidence left at the scene a question has to be asked.
How does such a high profile person like Kim Kardashian who has 24-hour personal security fall victim to a targeted heist?
The Kardashians have become worldwide celebrities from reality television and through their numerous social media accounts. Kim Kardashian has;
84 million followers on Instagram
48 million followers on Twitter
29,363,058 likes on Facebook
During the course of a day Mrs. Kardashian could easily tweet, post pictures and her location several times daily allowing virtually anyone to follow her in real-time. In fact, she had posted pictures of herself wearing a 4.5 million dollar ring just hours prior to the robbery. There’s no debating that social media makes celebrities targets. Unfortunately for the Kardashians social media is their livelihood. But, for the majority of us, sharing our daily experiences on social media does not pay the bills but does put us in harms way.
If using social media has become so ingrained in our daily lives often times we do not realize the gaffes we make when posting a harmless picture or message.
Following these simple guidelines you will greatly reduce your chances of falling victim to thieves or worse.
- Do not post messages prior to a trip. “One week till Hawaii!” No need to give thieves a heads up and plenty of time for them to plan.
- Do not post real-time photos. “Hey look at me I just landed in Hawaii!”. If thieves missed your previous post they still have several days before you return.
- Do not RSVP to events using social media. Again, no need to advertise where you will be.
- Do not take photos of the interior of your home. You’re giving thieves a virtual tour making it easier for them to pick and choose.
- Do not use Geotags or Geo-location services. You’re revealing your location to the world. Some sites like Instagram actual scrub geolocation data from photos.
According to an Allstate Insurance survey, 23 per cent of Quebec vacationers have posted messages about being away on their social media accounts.
- Be aware of what’s in your photo. Landmarks or addresses in the background are often enough to reveal your location.
- Remember that even though you might not be posting pictures others may be and tagging you in their photos.
- Ensure your social media privacy settings are as high as you’re willing them to be and check them often.
Facebook just released an end-to-end encryption for chats in Messenger. Use it. Here’s a step-by-step to activate Facebook “Secret Conversations”
- Be wary of friend requests from people you don’t know. They may be trying to circumvent your security settings by being “your friend”.
- Keep your list of social media friends to your close nit family and friends.
- As we discussed in our “The Rise of Identity Theft” article never use your real birthday in your social media accounts for the world to see.
The aforementioned steps will not guarantee that you’ll never be a social media victim. However, thieves love easy targets so by adding layers of obstacles between you and them you’ll diminish your chances of being a victim.
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