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Republic of Trinidad and Tobago

Don’t be a target for crime based on your social media posts


You’ve heard about thinking before you post when it comes to protecting your digital footprint, but you should also think before you post to protect your physical wellbeing and at home safety. Here are some tips that can help reduce the risk of being a victim of crime based on what you post

Clean up your Friends List

We often don’t pay too much attention to this but do you really know everyone on your friends list? Is the friend you added 2 years ago, still the same person today? Is there anyone in your friends list who really should not be there? Those are some questions you should ask and clean up your friends list.

Limit Tagging & Friends of Friends

‘Friends of Friends’ on Facebook is an option used under privacy settings and profile and tagging in your timeline. It is an option that expands your audience to friends of people you tag in your post, profile, and comments. When you enable friends of friends on Facebook in any field under settings, friends to any person you tag are included. It is normally the default setting for viewing actions on Facebook. But, you can always change it under the profile and tagging page to suit your preferences. The friends of friends option include persons under your friends’ list and those they have added to their list. Posting or allowing comments from friends of friends expands your network as it gives you a chance to connect with new people. However, you cannot control your friend friends’ list.

Be Aware of Imposters & Fake Profiles

Be aware that criminals can use social media to impersonate you, someone you know or trick you into giving away personal information. Be cautious of suspicious messages and requests, and report them to the relevant platform if you’re unsure. Don’t share too much personal information with anyone on social media. Your close family and friends would probably already know that information and won’t be asking for it via social media.

Review your collective digital footprint

You may think that you’ve limited your personal identifiable information on one platform but collectively you may have shared enough across multiple social media sites that will allow someone to collate and build your complete user profile. Unless it is an absolute requirement, there is no need to complete all the fields in sign up forms.

Update your Post & Privacy Settings

When you make a post on Facebook, you have the option of who can see it. Your options are Public, Friends, Only Me, or a Custom setting. By default, Facebook sets this to Friends, but if you want to be more restrictive with your posts, you can change it to your preferred custom setting.

Control who can look you up?

Control who can look you up using your contact details. You could find people by scanning your contacts, searching their names, or even their email addresses. This was a useful feature back then, but now considering data privacy concerns, you might want to limit who can find you using your contact information. If you’d rather people not be able to look you up using your contact information, you can change this setting.

To do this, go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > How people find and contact you (under the Audience and visibility section).

Delay your Travel Posts

If you’re going to be away from home for an extended period, avoid advertising this fact on social media. While you may be eager to share photos about your travels, consider doing this on your return. This way any prying eyes would not be furnished with information regarding your whereabouts and if your home is vacant or not.

Don’t share your daily routines

Think twice before sharing your daily routines or habits on social media, such as where you go to work or where and when you like to exercise etc. These details can help potential criminals to plan their activities and becomes more impactful if you’re engaging in these activities alone.

Be mindful of the composition of your images

When choosing the ideal spot for your image or video to be posted, you should not only be concerned about lighting but also what is show in the background. Things like vehicle number plates, house numbers, documents with identifiable information should not be in the image or blurred out.

We often like to post images of passports and plane tickets when traveling. If you must do so, it is recommended that you ensure no bio data is posted and ideally, delay posting until after you return.

Update Security Camera Login Passwords

Most security camera systems come with the ability to view via the internet either via an app or a web browser. Most of these are set up by the installer using the default username and password which can easily be found online. You should change these default passwords yourself – don’t ask the installer to – as it would mean they and other individuals would have 24/7 access to your home or business security cameras.


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