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These days, it's almost impossible to spend a day on social media without encountering some potential security issues: scams, privacy leaks, and fake follower requests just to name a few.

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Social media is a powerful tool which allows us to connect to the lives of those around us without the need to be near. With that comes the ability to instant message, share photos and videos, as well as view what others have chosen to share.

You may not have enough information for someone to completely steal your identity, but if your profile isn’t properly protected you can allow for phishing attempts among other threats to take place.

Here are five tips for better safety:

1. Be aware of social media scams

Scam artists work to build a profile of you. When your Social Media account is allowed for anyone, including those not of your friends or followers, to openly view you, you allow for them to gain a view into your life. Those potential thieves can look in and view person videos and photos that you have uploaded. This allows them to discover ways in which they can advertise to your needs to trick you to freely give out your information for them to steal your identity.

Take for example that you recently had a birthday party. You posted pictures, tagging friends and family, as well as a few videos to commemorate your special day. The fact is that when your account is open for the world to see, they can look in and see what your home is like, who’s in your family and friends circle, as well as who you are as a person.

Still, there are some vital steps you can take which will allow you to better protect yourself.

2. Ensure your account is fully private

When new friends wish to add you, they can search for your name/username and pull up a variety of accounts until they see the corresponding picture of you. When they click on the link to your profile, they will be given a preview of your account, and the chance to send a request. Now how much you decide to show on your profiles is entirely in your control.

Under your setting section there is a tab labeled privacy. Under that you will be able to pick and choose what you want to show. It is recommended that you hide all information, including social posts. Your profile picture will still be shown, but past profile pictures, among other information will be protected and hidden until you accept that friend request.

If you want to view how your profile looks when others click on you, simply open an incognito window, and post your profile link. This will allow you to see exactly what they see before they send a request.

Tip: Do not list family members on your Social Media Account. Doing so can in fact give thieves information into common security questions, such as your mother’s maiden name. Photos also can reveal the color of your first car, first pet name, and so forth.

3. Know what happens to your information

There are a few items to keep in mind as well outside of what scam artists may be looking for. Social Media websites can also compromise your information and send it to advertisers to help them plot out ads that peak your interest. One thing you can do to help combat this is to keep your location data private. When you’re on your account with your phone, usually the app will be tracking your location and whereabouts. They can also see what you are searching for, what you are clicking on so that they can better populate their web address with ads. To keep it private, go into the settings on your phone, and find the app. Once you do, you can pick the location tracking, and turn it on to, never allow.

Consider using a VPN

Another option would be to install a VPN on your phone and computers. This would ensure that everything that you do is hidden, and that your IP isn’t exposed as well. Your information, searches and clicks on the web stays with you, and isn’t released to outside sources.

Don’t give away too much in your “About” section

Your About section on your profile can carry with it multiple points of valuable information. The nice part is, is that you can simply go in and delete it all together. Information like where you currently work, past places you’ve lived, and family and relationships, can give a perpetrator all the information they need to scam you.

While a scam artist is searching through your profile, one dangerous section is in your contacts. The most common personal information exposed on the dark web is email and phone numbers, and your Social Media profile has direct access to both. Luckily, you can go into your ‘About’ section and mask or delete that information so you will not be the victim of SPAM or Phishing attempts.

4. Only accept requests from those you know

Fake accounts are abundant, and in a matter of minutes someone can look up pictures of someone, upload them to a profile, and make it appear legitimate under a fake name. Once that is done, they can send requests to anyone they would like, to try to gain the ability to view profiles. The most important thing to remember with this is to only accept requests from those you know in person.

There is a dangerous scam that can sometimes occur where your friend’s account is copied and you receive a request to refriend them. Sometimes you can even receive a message explaining how the error occurred and why the need to friend them again. The smart thing to do is verify with the friend directly through some other source, ex. Via Phone, and confirm if that truly is the case.

5. Watch out for common attacks

One of the most important things to remember is to trust yourself when you believe it is questionable. If a friend that you haven’t spoken to in a while randomly sends you a message like, “This video is so funny! Check out this link:” Then there is a chance that your friend’s account has been hacked. Never click on the link. Doing so causes for your account to be compromised with theirs, which can be dangerous because you won’t know what kind of information they were able to gather while in your account.

When in doubt, change your password

If this does end up happening to you, immediately change your password as soon as possible. It is a good rule of thumb to change your password every couple of months to something unique and to only this account. If your password and email is compromised, then each account which uses the same username and password can be accessed as well.

Avoid “Click-bait”

Another hazardous “Click-Bait” which can also compromise your information is the Quizzes or ‘Find Out Tests’. When you want to discover ‘Which Animal Best Fits Your Personality’ you click on a link which transports you to an outside source. There you are prompted to allow access to certain information, and need to click ‘Accept’ or ‘Allow Access’. Each time you allow access to your account you allow for that service to receive anything they would like. You gave them access, yet have no idea what they took, or will use it for.