PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) — Back-to-school posts on social media are so much fun to see especially when loved ones live far away.
Katie from Illinois poses her kids every year with a chalkboard sign detailing their new grade level, favorite foods, and what they want to be when they grow up. “I just think it’s a fun tradition to be able to share with people,” she told 10 On Your Side.
Hundreds of posts like Katie’s seem perfectly innocent, but cyber investigator, Len Gonzales, with Ally Cyber Investigations, tells 10 On Your Side they may make you vulnerable to cybercriminals.
“When we share too much information, it gives other people the ability to learn way more about us than what they should know, ” Gonzales said.
For instance, putting the name of your kid’s school alongside their name and picture screams of “stranger danger.”
“It potentially allows them to meet us on the school ground. It potentially allows them to call us by name and let our guard down.”
Someone could also use images and information to impersonate you online which can lead to harassment, bullying, and even identity theft.
“I’m just super careful about.. just in general .. about what I post,” Katie told 10 On Your Side. Still, she wonders if she could do more.
Experts suggest also checking your account security settings. If yours is set to ‘public,’ that means anyone can see what you post.
Also, avoid creating passwords with personal information. The same goes when selecting security questions. For instance, don’t use ‘What city were you born in? or ‘ What’s your best friend’s name?’.
“Because they know so much about you, they can actually start to access those other online accounts – email account which has a lot of information about where you do banking and medical portals and personal things you access,” Gonzales told us.
Katie says she’ll continue to share smiles on social media, but may save the chalkboard for a family group text next year.
Gonzales has a lot more security tips to share in his book, “The Truth Behind Social Networking: What Teens, Young Adults And Parents Need To Know.’