Security Tips to Keep Your Social Media Accounts Safe

In today’s digital world, we are all facing a new kind of challenge: staying safe in the online environment. With the number of cyberattacks on the rise in the last several years, cybersecurity is now more important than ever.

Security Tips to Keep Your Social Media Accounts Safe

Social media is very popular nowadays because it allows us to connect with friends and peers from anywhere in the world and it provides us entertainment. Almost every individual has at least one social media account because nowadays, this is how people socialize and communicate.

However, regardless of how fun and entertaining social networks are, they raise a new security challenge. The most popular social network, Facebook, already has a bad reputation among its users for being unable to protect their personal data from hackers. Thus, it is now more important than ever to learn how to secure your social media accounts and stay safe online. Here are 6 tips to help you safeguard your social networking accounts:

1.Use a strong password

The first thing you need to do to secure your social media accounts is to set a strong password that will be very difficult to guess by hackers. Cybersecurity specialists advise social media users to set passwords that are very unique and do not contain very common words which can be found in their personal data. For example, don’t use a password that contains your name or your birth date.

Create passwords which contain both capital letters and lowercase letters and numbers. This way, your password will be very hard to guess or crack and your account will be safe from hackers.

Also, another important tip from specialists is to use different passwords for each of your social media accounts. If a bad-intended person finds out your password for one of your social media accounts, they are very likely to try to hack your other accounts too. Thus, don’t make things easy for them by using the same password for every account you have.

2.Use the two-factor authentication

The two-factor authentication has been created with the purpose of helping users to keep their social media accounts safe and protected from hackers or ill-intended individuals. You may consider that login into your accounts is more difficult when the two-factor authentication feature is enabled but it is certainly for your own safety.

The two-factor authentication empowers you to control better who can access your social network accounts. When logging into your account, you will be asked to introduce a digit code which has been sent on your mobile phone or email address. This way, in case someone else tries to access your account against your will, you will be notified and they won’t be able to do it because they won’t receive the necessary digit code.

3.Set up a security question

Setting up a security question is another great way to protect your social media accounts from ill-intended individuals. This function adds an extra security layer because no one will be able to access your account or change your password unless they know the answer to the security question you have set. However, you must be very careful with sharing this information with your peers or virtual friends. Choose a question that only you know the answer to in order to avoid allowing someone to change your password and steal your account.

4.Think before posting on social media

In today’s world, although it is a new challenge for us, online reputation is very important and could become a matter of security if you fail to take care of it. Before you make a post, you need to be aware that all your virtual friends will be able to see it. Moreover, nowadays, it is a very popular practice among employers to take a look over the social media accounts of their employees or candidates to determine what type of person they are. Thus, before posting a picture or a status with one of your opinions which may be controversial, think about who is going to see it and what the consequences might be.

Another important privacy matter you should consider is what personal details your account offers to your virtual friends. Avoid posting information which can be used in a scam such as your birthdate, mother’s name, telephone number or email address. Hackers and scammers can take your personal data and use it against you in so many ways that you could never imagine.

Social media posts often reveal your location if your GPS function is enabled. Unfortunately, revealing your location on in the virtual world can be very dangerous as it can make you vulnerable in the real world. Ill-intended people who want to harm you in the offline world might monitor your social media accounts to know where they can find you. Thus, it is also advisable to remove GPS coordinates from any post you share on your social media accounts.

5.Be aware of who you are friends with

Social media doesn’t only put your personal data at risk but also your own safety if you don’t know who your virtual friends are. According to Pew Research Center, one in four teens online users make new friends using social media networks. Although social media networks have been designed to enhance communication and socialization, they also raise some safety issues in the real world.

When making new friends on social networks, it is advisable to perform a free background check to find out more about that person. Enter their name and get all the relevant information about them including their contact information, criminal records, phone number history, marriage and divorce records, and much more. This way, you will be able to know whether or not your new virtual friend is a trustworthy person who is safe to meet in the real world too.

6.Don’t click on odd links

If you receive a suspicious link sent as a message on your social media accounts by any of your virtual friends, don’t click on it. It is a very common practice for hackers and ill-intended individuals to use links to direct users to suspicious websites or hack their account. Also, if you receive a suspicious message from an individual or a company asking for sensitive data, under no circumstance you should share it no matter how trustworthy the message might be.

Social media networks are very popular nowadays. However, due to the safety issues they might raise, you must be very careful about protecting your sensitive data.

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Online Threat Alerts Security Tips

Pay the safest way

Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the goods or services or if the offer was misrepresented. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if someone makes unauthorized charges to your account, and most credit card issuers will remove them completely if you report the problem promptly.

Guard your personal information

In any transaction you conduct, make sure to check with your state or local consumer protection agency and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if the seller, charity, company, or organization is credible. Be especially wary if the entity is unfamiliar to you. Always call the number found on a website’s contact information to make sure the number legitimately belongs to the entity you are dealing with.

Be careful of the information you share

Never give out your codes, passwords or personal information, unless you are sure of who you're dealing with

Know who you’re dealing with

Crooks pretending to be from companies you do business with may call or send an email, claiming they need to verify your personal information. Don’t provide your credit card or bank account number unless you are actually paying for something and know who you are sending payment to. Your social security number should not be necessary unless you are applying for credit. Be especially suspicious if someone claiming to be from a company with whom you have an account asks for information that the business already has.

Check your accounts

Regularly check your account transactions and report any suspicious or unauthorised transactions.

Don’t believe promises of easy money

If someone claims that you can earn money with little or no work, get a loan or credit card even if you have bad credit, or make money on an investment with little or no risk, it’s probably a scam. Oftentimes, offers that seem too good to be true, actually are too good to be true.

Do not open email from people you don’t know

If you are unsure whether an email you received is legitimate, try contacting the sender directly via other means. Do not click on any links in an email unless you are sure it is safe.

Think before you click

If an email or text message looks suspicious, don’t open any attachments or click on the links.

Verify urgent requests or unsolicited emails, messages or phone calls before you respond

If you receive a message or a phone call asking for immediate action and don't know the sender, it could be a phishing message.

Be careful with links and new website addresses

Malicious website addresses may appear almost identical to legitimate sites. Scammers often use a slight variation in spelling or logo to lure you. Malicious links can also come from friends whose email has unknowingly been compromised, so be careful.

Secure your personal information

Before providing any personal information, such as your date of birth, Social Security number, account numbers, and passwords, be sure the website is secure.

Stay informed on the latest cyber threats

Keep yourself up to date on current scams by visiting this website daily.

Use Strong Passwords

Strong passwords are critical to online security.

Keep your software up to date and maintain preventative software programs

Keep all of your software applications up to date on your computers and mobile devices. Install software that provides antivirus, firewall, and email filter services.

Update the operating systems on your electronic devices

Make sure your operating systems (OSs) and applications are up to date on all of your electronic devices. Older and unpatched versions of OSs and software are the target of many hacks. Read the CISA security tip on Understanding Patches and Software Updates for more information.

What if You Got Scammed?

Stop Contact With The Scammer

Hang up the phone. Do not reply to emails, messages, or letters that the scammer sends. Do not make any more payments to the scammer. Beware of additional scammers who may contact you claiming they can help you get your lost money back.

Secure Your Finances

  • Report potentially compromised bank account, credit or debit card information to your financial institution(s) immediately. They may be able to cancel or reverse fraudulent transactions.
  • Notify the three major credit bureaus. They can add a fraud alert to warn potential credit grantors that you may be a victim of identity theft. You may also want to consider placing a free security freeze on your credit report. Doing so prevents lenders and others from accessing your credit report entirely, which will prevent them from extending credit:

Check Your Computer

If your computer was accessed or otherwise affected by a scam, check to make sure that your anti-virus is up-to-date and running and that your system is free of malware and keylogging software. You may also need to seek the help of a computer repair company. Consider utilizing the Better Business Bureau’s website to find a reputable company.

Change Your Account Passwords

Update your bank, credit card, social media, and email account passwords to try to limit further unauthorized access. Make sure to choose strong passwords when changing account passwords.

Report The Scam

Reporting helps protect others. While agencies can’t always track down perpetrators of crimes against scammers, they can utilize the information gathered to record patterns of abuse which may lead to action being taken against a company or industry.

Report your issue to the following agencies based on the nature of the scam:

  • Local Law Enforcement: Consumers are encouraged to report scams to their local police department or sheriff’s office, especially if you lost money or property or had your identity compromised.
  • Federal Trade Commission: Contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357) or use the Online Complaint Assistant to report various types of fraud, including counterfeit checks, lottery or sweepstakes scams, and more.
  • If someone is using your personal information, like your Social Security, credit card, or bank account number, to open new accounts, make purchases, or get a tax refund, report it at This federal government site will also help you create your Identity Theft Report and a personal recovery plan based on your situation. Questions can be directed to 877-ID THEFT.

How To Recognize a Phishing Scam

Scammers use email or text messages to try to steal your passwords, account numbers, or Social Security numbers. If they get that information, they could get access to your email, bank, or other accounts. Or they could sell your information to other scammers. Scammers launch thousands of phishing attacks like these every day — and they’re often successful.

Scammers often update their tactics to keep up with the latest news or trends, but here are some common tactics used in phishing emails or text messages:

Phishing emails and text messages often tell a story to trick you into clicking on a link or opening an attachment. You might get an unexpected email or text message that looks like it’s from a company you know or trust, like a bank or a credit card or utility company. Or maybe it’s from an online payment website or app. The message could be from a scammer, who might

  • say they’ve noticed some suspicious activity or log-in attempts — they haven’t
  • claim there’s a problem with your account or your payment information — there isn’t
  • say you need to confirm some personal or financial information — you don’t
  • include an invoice you don’t recognize — it’s fake
  • want you to click on a link to make a payment — but the link has malware
  • say you’re eligible to register for a government refund — it’s a scam
  • offer a coupon for free stuff — it’s not real

About Online Threat Alerts (OTA)

Online Threat Alerts or OTA is an anti-cybercrime community that started in 2012. OTA alerts the public to cyber crimes and other web threats.

By alerting the public, we have prevented a lot of online users from getting scammed or becoming victims of cybercrimes.

With the ever-increasing number of people going online, it important to have a community like OTA that continuously alerts or protects those same people from cyber-criminals, scammers and hackers, who are every day finding new ways of carrying out their malicious activities.

Online users can help by reporting suspicious or malicious messages or websites to OTA. And, if they want to determine if a message or website is a threat or scam, they can use OTA's search engine to search for the website or parts of the message for information.

Help maintain Online Threat Alerts (OTA).

Security Tips to Keep Your Social Media Accounts Safe