Since October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’ve been focusing on top techniques for staying safe on social media, starting with Facebook and Twitter. But there’s also another major social network that’s important to consider: Instagram.
I love to trade photos with friends, so Instagram has been a great way to stay connected. But I’m also aware that, like other social media, the site can attract identity thieves in addition to friendly followers.
When considering ways to prevent identity theft, even a photo-sharing site like Instagram can pose a threat. You can knock down the risk level, though, by changing security settings and focusing on Instagram privacy controls.
Follow these steps to click and share with confidence.
- Click the Edit Profile option.
Right next to your screen name is the prominent “Edit Profile” box. Click on this to get to a page with general information about your account along with several additional options on the left side. The main Instagram privacy controls are accessible via the Manage Applications and Change Password options.
- Choose a strong, unique password.
Changing your password on Instagram is easy. Be sure to choose a password that’s unique to Instagram rather than one you use for several social media sites, and be sure to create a strong password that will be difficult for an identity thief to crack. Also, make it a habit to log out after each session. Even though that can feel like a hassle, it’s an extra layer of identity theft protection, especially if you have your account set for email notifications of new activity.
- Authorize applications sparingly.
This is the area of Instagram controls where you can authorize other third-party applications to access your account. In some cases, this might make sense — for example, if you have a blog on WordPress, authorizing that application will allow you to display your Instagram photos on your blog with ease.
However, be cautious about how many of these third-party apps get access, since that may be a route for identity thieves to get into your friend lists and profile information. If you see any unnecessary apps on this page, especially ones you don’t recognize, simply hit the “Revoke Access” option to remove them.
- Use the mobile app to block your location.
Some controls are on the mobile app but not on the desktop/online version. For example, the Photo Map is a feature that allows people to see your geographic location. You can turn off this function via the mobile app. Click on the Photo Map icon, and then the three small dots in the upper right hand corner. This will give you the option to remove location details from your photos, which can prevent identity thieves from gathering data like your address and workplace to create a profile on you.
For more social media insight, check out our general tips for posting and protection. Locking down Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is one of the top ways to prevent identity theft and make the most of social media.