October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which makes it a good time to freshen up your identity prevention strategies and put a few simple protections in place. Social media is an ideal place to start.
Even though we all love to swap photos and messages via Twitter and Facebook, we also know there are plenty of bad guys on these sites as well. Identity thieves often use social media to collect user information, making it crucial to think about ways to prevent identity theft before posting.
We recently explored how to change security settings for Facebook, but it’s just as important to lock down your Twitter account, too.
Follow these steps to increase your Twitter privacy.
- Go to Settings, then Security and Privacy.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter encourages social interactions among people who don’t know each other and can connect based more on mutual interests than shared personal history. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be a free-for-all when it comes to Twitter privacy. To get started, click on the small version of your profile photo in the upper right corner and then select Settings. From there, choose “Security and privacy” on the left-hand side.
- Set your security.
Twitter security controls are fairly basic, but they’re important. Be sure to check the box that specifies personal information is required to reset your password. That can prevent unauthorized password changes, which is especially helpful if you lose your phone or laptop. You can add your phone number to your Twitter account to verify account logins and password resets.
- Increase Twitter privacy controls.
Your privacy levels will depend on how you use Twitter. If you want more followers and tend to tweet observations and comments that can’t be used by identity thieves — as opposed to personal tweets that describe your location, work, family, etc. — your Twitter privacy level can be slightly lower. But for maximum privacy, you can check the box marked “Protect my Tweets,” which allows only those you approve to see what you tweet. You can also stop other people from tagging you or adding you to teams.
- Stay discreet.
Finally, there are a couple important ways to increase personal security as well as Twitter privacy. The first is the button “Add a location to my Tweets,” which should be unchecked if it’s not already. Choosing the option not only allows Twitter to store the information, but also lets others know exactly where you are at any given moment. The other action is under Discoverability, which allows people to find you by email address. Although Twitter is an open forum, uncheck this box unless you find it useful to connect your email to your Twitter identity.
Also take a look at some general tips for social media use when considering how to prevent identity theft. In our next post, we’ll take on Instagram. In the meantime, be sure to tweak your privacy and security for Twitter and Facebook, and make social safer.