Everyone from CEOs and company founders to part-time employees leave their own digital footprints on social media platforms, and how they comport themselves doesn’t always stay as private as it might seem. That’s why it’s important to think carefully about exactly what information you’re putting out there. Even a popular site like OkCupid.com, which prides itself on its smart, statistic-driven design, temporarily made its users’ information public through a security glitch last month.
The glitch was in the company’s “Crazy Blind Date” app, which normally only reveals its members’ first names, locations, sexual preferences and a scrambled photo. Although it lasted less than a day and there were reportedly no instances of data being stolen, users found their information at risk and out of their control.
Mindlessly using social media of any kind can be a minefield, and you need to know where to step so it doesn’t blow up in your face. There’s a reason why professionals make the effort to keep their personal and business lives separate, and breaches like this could permanently impact one’s digital reputation. Here are a few ways to avoid identity theft, maximize your safety and protect your business while using such Web services:
Don’t post sensitive information on your profile page. This seems like a no-brainer, but remember that anything you post could potentially be accessed by an unsavory party. Also, be careful not to give out any personal details to people you don’t trust. Keeping your cards close to your vest will help ensure you don’t lose it all.
Do your research before signing up: make sure you choose online service providers with high security standards and be wary of any site that charges you for “premium access.”
John Sileo is an online privacy expert and keynote speaker on social media privacy, identity theft and fraud. His clients included the Department of Defense, Pfizer, and Homeland Security. See his recent work on 60 Minutes, Anderson Cooper and Fox Business.