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How Social Media Can Compromise Your Personal Security

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

water restaurant blackberry iphone phone check in

We all love our social networks and building our personal brands.  The newest craze in social media is the ability to “check-in”.  I first started using the check-in feature on my mobile Yelp! app.  I thought it was the coolest thing in the world.  Back then, I only used Yelp! to find good restaurants.  Then, when I got there, I would check-in on my Yelp! app so the restaurant would be saved in case I wanted to go back another time or write a review.

Later on, I realized that Facebook started to do the same thing.  I started noticing status updates that said, “So and so is at here or there with blah blah blah.”  Even to this day, though, it doesn’t really seem like Facebook’s “Places” function ever took off.

Finally, I came across Foursquare when I started my first Personal Branding class at UNR.  I thought I knew a lot about social networks, but I was surprised to have never heard of this one.  Basically, all you really do on Foursquare is check-in.  While Foursquare is growing like crazy, it was never really a hit with me.  I was hesitant to share with the world where I was every minute of the day.

This is exactly why I’m writing this post today. I want to remind everyone that while it may seem ridiculous to believe that someone could rob your house or kidnap you because you’ve been checking-in on social networks, there is still that possibility. Here’s how you can protect yourself:

1. Check in when you’re leaving the place.

If you check in when you leave the place of interest, robbers won’t have enough time to get to your house before you do.

2. Avoid checking in during long events.

A lot of people like to check in at work.  This just lets thieves know that you aren’t home and won’t be for a while.

3. Don’t check in at night.

Checking in at night is a bad idea, especially for cute little college girls.  I know a lot of people who will check in as they’re bar hopping.  It won’t take long for a kidnapper to follow your trail.

4. If you’re away from home for an extended period, avoid checking in.

I know it’s tempting to check in at all your favorite restaurants while visiting places like San Francisco, but it’s really a bad idea.  If someone’s paying attention to your activity, they’ll notice your a long way from home.

5. Stay away from Foursquare.

Like I said before, I don’t like Foursquare.  Since Foursquare is all about checking in, you can’t get away from it unless you stay away from it completely.

6. Don’t check in at all.

If you really want to protect yourself when it comes to checking in on social networks, just don’t do it!

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