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Sarah* lay sobbing on the couch. She had tried so hard to keep it secret! But now hateful messages filled her answering machine. Her worst nightmare had come true – her dad knew about her lifestyle, and the angry messages kept coming as her phone rang and rang.

Tom* browsed the Facebook statuses of his most recent claimant. He suspected the car was used for street racing, which would be grounds to deny the insurance claim. Yep, sure enough – there was a proud photo of the claimant next to his winning car, clearly labeled as being at a race. Tom saved the evidence and got ready to call his supervisor.

            *Names Changed

 

Social media sharing is a fact of modern life. In fact, it’s a cornerstone of content marketing. However, there are many times when your social media presence can give away information you’d rather keep quiet. Both of the stories above are true, and they show the good and bad of social media sharing.

When you have personal information you’d rather not share with everyone, it can be very difficult to find a way to share it with only a few people, as ‘Sarah’ found out above. In past times, phone calls were with only one person, and letters or even emails could be limited in who received them. However, with Facebook, Twitter, and sharing a universal reality of social media, those protections are hard to come by today.

Sometimes social media can help avoid fraud. Insurance examiners can use social media as proof of whether someone damaged their car the way they said, or whether an injury was really as extensive as claimed. In addition, employers sometimes find that prospective employees haven’t been honest about their education or associations by using social media. This can be considered a good case of social media saying too much, as fraud helps no one.

An increasingly important question in today’s content-driven world is, how do you maintain social media privacy? Here are some tips that can help.

Be Honest. I deeply hate fraud and lying, and the first tip I can give is not to engage in those behaviors. Having personal information you want to keep private is one thing – defrauding others with false claims is another. The first and most important thing you can do to avoid trouble is to be honest. 

Know the Privacy Settings of Social Networks. Many people aren’t aware of the various privacy settings that can help keep private information safe. You may not want to share your email or birthdate on Facebook. In addition, you can set privacy guides on Twitter and other social media sites. Being careful what personal information you share can help you avoid fraud and identity theft.

Watch Cross-Posting. Some social networks have a feature that allows you to post the same message to various social media platforms at one time. Be careful about doing this if you have sensitive information to share.

Consider if Social Network Sharing is Appropriate. There are some things that simply shouldn’t be discussed on social media, and to truly keep things private, keep them offline. Share only with very close friends, and do so in person, on the phone, or via email.

Even with these precautions, there is always danger. A friend who turns against you could take a very important secret and share it with the world. However, by taking these steps, you’ll do the best you can to make sure your social media doesn’t say too much.

Are you afraid of oversharing on social media? Should employers or insurance companies be able to use social media information in their decisions? Share your thoughts  in the comments!!

Anna

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