FRESNO, Calif (KSEE/KGPE) – From pre-school to high school, kids across the Central Valley have been heading back to school over the last few weeks: a proud and joyful moment for parents as they watch their kids venture into their studies.
To commemorate the once-in-a-lifetime moments, many parents post pictures on social media of their kids with many details about their exciting new school venture. This includes a child’s name, their teacher’s name, their school, and other information like their favorite color, interests, and foods.
While these are great moments to share with friends and family, it is important to be aware of just how much information we are revealing in these posts. Criminals are always on the lookout for information that can make it easier to steal people’s identities or commit other nefarious acts.
Experts, like those from the cyber security company Lookout, offer a few simple tips on how you can protect yourself and your kids from revealing too much information during this back-to-school season.
Think about the amount of information you’re sharing online. Experts say that online scams and data breaches are on the rise. Scam artists use collected information to try and access people’s online accounts. Or attempt to trick people into falling for a phishing attack. Also, we are hearing more and more about breaches, like the LinkedIn and Facebook ones from 2021, where phone numbers, e-mail addresses, as well as personal and professional details were leaked. It may be wise to limit the amount of information you post or share.
It is also a great idea to check your account and application permission settings. In a survey commissioned by Lookout in 2021, they found out that almost one in four people have their Facebook profile setting as “Public.” This means anyone can browse through your page and learn all about you. This could be an easy way to become targets of identity theft. Also, be aware of third-party applications that you have authorized to your social media accounts. If they are breached they can also expose your information.
This last tip we are going to cover may sound like a pain as it can be very difficult to keep track of passwords. It’s important not to create passwords with personal identifiable information. In simple terms, don’t make it easy for people to guess your password. The same can also be said for security questions for online accounts. Choose questions that wouldn’t be easily spotted on your social media accounts. For example, it’s probably not a good idea to use your kid’s school or even your hometown.
Social media is a great way to be able to share great milestones in your family with relatives and friends that aren’t nearby. Let’s just make sure we are being thoughtful about the amount of information we leave out there as it could save you from a big headache in the future.