Staying safe on social media sites: BBB offers advice

Image courtesy of Master isolated images at
Image courtesy of Master isolated images at

Social media is a great way to be entertained and stay in touch with friends and family.

Unfortunately, social media sites can get you in trouble if you let your guard down. Clicking on the wrong links could infect your computer or phone with malware or even lead to ID theft.

Your BBB has the following advice to help you stay safe while you enjoy social media:

Do your research. Research the social media site or app before signing up. Visit to view a company’s BBB Business Review. BBB requires all BBB Accredited Businesses that collect sensitive data to disclose their privacy policies and to protect the sensitive information of their users.

Read the privacy policy. Reading the privacy policy for a social media site tells you exactly what the business can and will do with your information. What you find might change your mind about the things you post.

Be careful what you click. Just because a friend shares it, doesn’t mean it’s a safe link. When social media profiles are hacked, scammers can share viral links that will download malware on your computer. Hover over a link before you click and never enter personal information if prompted by a shared link.

Secure your information. Be careful when entering sensitive information (credit card number, driver’s license number, Social Security number) online. Always make sure the website is secure by looking for the “s” in “https” at the beginning of the web address.

Think before sending. It’s never a good idea to send credit card numbers, Social Security numbers or other sensitive information to another person through email or text. Doing so could expose your information to the wrong eyes.

Check your privacy settings. Periodically review your privacy settings on social media sites. Limit your profile views to only the people you trust with your information.

Don’t overshare. Think twice before posting your vacation plans or other personal information. Scammers and thieves may take advantage while you’re away and vulnerable.

It’s online to stay. What goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet. Always ask yourself if what you’re posting should be seen by a future boss (or your future in-laws).