01 Aug 2015

Stay Secure (and in Compliance) while Using Social Media

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In the world today, it’s hard not to be in some way connected to social media. The number of social networking sites and tools is exploding by the day, with sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube hosting millions of users around the world. These social networking sites are extremely useful in connecting with current and new friends, expanding your professional network, doing research on debtors and their assets, and more. In addition, social media applications are increasingly becoming our most important apps on our smartphones. In short, not only is social media getting harder to avoid, but also easier than ever to start using.

As a fiduciary, social media can help you to build relationships, position yourself as a thought leader in your community, and quickly help you find out additional information about an individual – eventually leading to potential clients, referral sources, or additional assets to include in an estate.

However, with the trail of personal information that is shared on social networking sites, you may be subject to or a facilitator of identity theft if you aren’t using precaution about what you share—about yourself or the debtors you may be researching. For trustees, the breach of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) – such as information shared on social media – can be incredibly costly, as penalties for breaches are set by EOUST and can include provisions that last as long as three years.

Check out ways to stay secure (and in compliance with the Handbook) while using social media below!

  1. Never share these 5 things

    As a general rule, you should never share these five pieces of information on social media sites:
    -Social security numbers (even just the last 4 digits)
    -Birth dates
    -Home addresses or phone numbers
    -Any passwords, PIN numbers, and bank account and credit card information
    -The state where one was born – can be used to obtain social security number and other identity information

  1. Customize your privacy settings

    The good thing about many social networks is that they often have customizable privacy settings for your account, which you should use to the fullest to keep your information secure. To view and customize the security settings on your account, log into your profile on your social media account and navigate to the settings screen (usually located on the top right or top left). Then, click on “Privacy” and check out what options you have to limit who and what groups can see various aspects of your personal information.

  2. Limit your work history details on LinkedIn

    There is a risk of providing too much of your work history details on Linkedin, which could be used by identity thieves to fill out a loan application, guess a password security question, or even socially engineer their way into your company’s network. Protect yourself by limiting the amount of work information that you provide on Linkedin. It is okay to fill in more information for specific periods to perform specific tasks; however, it is a good rule of thumb to remove that additional information when you no longer need to have that information out there.

  3. Know what you have posted about yourself

    Hackers and identity thieves often use the “Forgot Password” link under the login field to break into user accounts with answers to password security questions such as your birthday, home town, high school class, mother’s middle name, and more. For this reason, it is important to not share such information on your social networking sites, and stay cautious about how much information you are sharing on social media.

  4. Search your name on Google

    By simply using Google to search for your name,  you can check out what other people can see about you through your social media profile or profiles, as well as where your name is showing up and what information is available about you. If you find something you don’t want publicly available, you should adjust your profile, settings and habits appropriately. You can also set up a Google alert with your name, so that it emails you when Google finds your name on the web. Learn how to set up a Google alert here.

  5. Other tips