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A guide for staying safe on social media

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A guide for staying safe on social media

EDIN READ offers simple steps to ensure your account is secure and you develop positive connections on platforms such as Facebook.

In our digital age, social media is a fantastic tool for staying connected with loved ones, sharing life updates and even discovering new interests.

However, as much as social media opens up a world of opportunities, it also presents some risks, especially for seniors who might not be as familiar with the potential pitfalls.

Today, I’ll walk you through some essential safety practices to keep your social media experiences positive and secure. I have Facebook in mind when writing this, but it’s applicable to whichever platforms you use.

First and foremost, let’s talk about safeguarding your accounts. Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a must, and I cannot stress this enough.

It’s like a double lock for your digital doors. With 2FA, even if someone gets hold of your password, they can’t access your account without the second key, which is typically a code sent to your mobile phone or email. It’s a simple step that adds a significant layer of security. Setting this up is straightforward: go to the settings of your social media accounts, look for ‘Security settings’ and you should find an option to enable 2FA – you might have to search for it. This one minor step today could be the barrier that keeps out intruders even tomorrow.

It’s all too common to see, on my own Facebook feed, people’s accounts who have been ‘hacked’ and start posting get-rich-quick schemes. This can all be avoided.

Another common pitfall on social media is accepting friend requests from people you don’t know. It might feel polite to accept, but remember: not everyone’s intentions are good.

Scammers often create fake profiles to gather personal information or spread malicious links. A good rule of thumb is: if you don’t recognise the person, or if their profile seems newly created with minimal activity, it’s best to decline the request, or hold off until you can give them a call and confirm.

A particularly cunning tactic that scammers use is impersonating your friends or family members. You might receive a message that seems to be from someone you know, asking for financial help or claiming to be in an emergency. However, these messages are often scams. Before you even consider responding, pick up the phone and call the person directly to verify their story. It’s always better to be safe and check twice rather than lose money to a fraudster.

Keeping your profile private is an effective way to shield yourself from the prying eyes of scammers and hackers.

By restricting your profile visibility to only your friends, you limit the amount of personal information that’s accessible publicly.

Check your privacy settings to ensure that your posts, friend list and personal details like your email or birthday are not visible to the entire internet.

It’s about keeping your personal information exactly that: personal.

Be cautious if you receive a friend request from someone you’re already connected with. This is a common trick where scammers create a duplicate profile of someone you know.

Always verify by checking your friend list or contacting the person directly before accepting such requests. It’s possible that your friend’s identity has been mimicked to target you and possibly other mutual contacts.

Navigating social media safely is crucial and by following these tips – enabling two-factor authentication, being selective with friend requests, verifying unusual pleas for money, keeping your profile private, and double-checking duplicate friend requests – you’ll create a secure and enjoyable social media experience.

Remember: if you ever feel unsure about any interaction on social media, feel free to reach out to us at Greyology.

Edin Read is founder and chief technician at Greyology Tech Support for Seniors. Visit greyology.com.au

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