There are a lot of dangers lurking out there in the world; burglars, kidnappers, ID thieves -- just to name a few. You could be opening yourself up to all of these potential threats without even knowing it. Here are the five online behaviors you may be doing right now that can put you and your family in harm's way.
You are so excited about that big trip, you just have to tell somebody "Hey, I'm on vacation." So, we post details and photos on Facebook and Twitter, a move Adam Levin, Chairman of Credit.com says can have serious unintended consequences.
"They are going to tell where they are going. How long they are going to be gone," says Levin. He continues "So, if someone is stalking them, they can figure out how to find them." If they are casing your house, now they know when to knock it over in a burglary.
"The second thing is let me tell you all about my life through quizzes," says Levin. This type of over-sharing in online quizzes and surveys gives a potential hacker all the information needed to steal your identity. Levin says typical information includes the street you grew up on, your favorite color, favorite band, dog and mother's maiden name. "Quizzes are socking up individual pieces of information that may seem harmless to you....
Combine them and it's lethal."
Another ID theft gateway; free, public Wi-Fi. "People will sit in a public square and do their banking. They don't realize that the funny looking fellow over there is taking as much information as he can via his antennae and using it put together a mosaic of you life."
You wouldn't leave your keys in your car with the engine running. Don't leave your smart phone unprotected. A lot of people don't have a pin number or access code they use to secure their phones. In the hands of the wrong person, an unsecured phone is like giving away the keys to your life.
The last mistake puts the most important thing in our lives in jeopardy. Our children. And it comes with the best of intensions, capturing those special moments on our cell phones.
"People love to take pictures if their children. They love to post them on web sites," says Levin. The problem nowadays is all of those smart phone photos are geo-tagged, embedded with code that tells a possible abductor where the photo was taken. Levin warns," now they know the name of your child. The park your child likes to play in. The time your child likes to play in the park so they can walk up to your child and basically utter their name and make it sound like they are coming from you." There is an easy solution to this problem. Turn off geo-tagging for photos and be careful how you share pictures of your children online.