Suppose I asked you to provide this list of information on social media:
- Your Name
- Your pet’s names
- Your kid’s names and ages
- Where your kids go to school
- Where you went to school
- When your birthday is
- When your family member birthdays are
- Your gender
- Your family member genders
- Your race
- Your family member’s race
- Type of car you drive
- Type of car your spouse drives
- When you are on vacation
- Where you like to go when on vacation
- Where your kids catch the bus
- When your kids catch the bus
- What you like to buy
- What shows you like
- What books you like
- Who your friends are
- What type of political views you have
- What your house looks like inside
- What valuables you have in your house
- How old are you and each member of your home
- Your approximate household income
- Where you work
- Where your spouse works
- What music you like
Would you give it to me? Or would you think me up to no good? Sadly you have most likely given it away already or are in the process drip by drip. Social Media can be a treasure trove of information for marketers but also hackers and other perps. Let’s map the number above to actions you might take.
Unless you are up to no good, you probably set up an account using your real name. (1) You probably also provided your birth date when you setup your account. This is one piece needed for identity theft.
Let’s say that you post out photos of yourself (8,10). Suppose a few were from when you are on vacation and you were smart enough to NOT post them until you returned home so as to not advertise you absence. The GPS coordinates of each shot are imbedded in the photos so the perp knows each place you were while on vacation and when. (14, 15)
Your kids look so cute getting on the bus so you post a photo. Again, the GPS information is in the photo so the perp knows the where and the when of waiting on a bus. They can probably infer when they arrive from other posts you make. (16, 17) From the time of arrival and the bus stop the perp can lookup bus routes and determine which school your kids go to.
You mention your car or post a photo of it while you are driving. (12) Eventually you post a shot of the front of you home and by elimination the perp can figure out which is your spouse’s car.
You are careful and never post your kid’s photos online but your family member’s aren’t and post photos of your whole family and then link the photo to you. (9, 11)
Post any photos taken inside your house? Did you check what is showing in the background in the other room? (23, 24) Did you post birthday photos of each child? (3, 25) Don’t forget the pet, they are so cute! (2)
What do you post or share? (22)
Chat with friends from your high school or join a high school group? (5, 21)
Like to click on ads? (18)
From what you like to buy and photos inside your house and your cars and the house itself, your income can be inferred. (26)
To help people decide if they want to connect with you, you can display your favorite movies and books in your profile and even your favorite music. (19, 20, 29)
Every talk about your job or your spouse’s? (27, 28)
The hacker can now figure out how to answer your security questions and get your password. The robber can now know when you aren’t home and if you have anything worth stealing and even where it is in your home. The molester even knows how and when to get to your children.
Think you are safe because you only share with friends? Think again. Anything marketing firms can purchase, hacker and other perps can also purchase or steal. I’m sure, you can come up with additional information not on this list that you have disclosed. Don’t feel badly. We have all done it. Just think in the future what the information you provide might be used for.