Social Media Safety: Dos and Don’ts

Tuesday, October 01 at 11:55 AM
Category: Personal Finance

Perhaps you’ve noticed the string of enormous Powerball jackpots awarded lately. If so, you also might have noticed the equally astronomic odds – 1 in 175 million – of winning such a prize.

According to the Business Insider website, a person’s odds of winning even the smallest prize are still pretty long. That’s right, the odds of winning just $4 are only 1 in 56.

And while that might take some of the fun out of buying a lottery ticket, some statistics regarding social media cybercrime are even more sobering. According to last year’s Norton Cybercrime Report, 39 percent of social network users have been victims of social cybercrime.

That includes:

  • 15 percent of social network users who reported someone had hacked into their account and pretended to be them.
  • 1 in 10 social network users who said they have been a victim of a scam or fake link on social network platforms.

Additionally, Trend Micro, which touts itself as a global leader in cloud security that allows businesses and consumers to safely exchange digital information, conducted a survey in which 30 percent of social media users said they know someone who has been a victim of identity theft. The survey indicated 13 percent of respondents said they’ve been victims themselves.

The risks can be high for companies as well. One widespread threat known as a “Corporate Account Take-over” (CAT), is a form of targeted online fraud impacting small- to medium-sized business, nonprofits and public-sector entities that utilize commercial web banking services.

Perpetrators of this crime attempt to transfer money out of bank accounts using wire transfers and ACH transactions by infecting business customers’ computer systems with “Banking Trojan” malware. They often achieve this by luring social network users to click on fake social media ads, links and/or “friend” requests.

Even so, social media use in the corporate environment appears here to stay. That’s evidenced by social talent management software company SilkRoad Technology’s survey in which 75 percent of participants said they access social media on the job from their mobile devices at least once a day. (According to the same survey, 60 percent access it multiple times.)

So, whether the social media account belongs to an individual or business, the threat of some form of cybercrime is real. That’s why it’s imperative to find the right balance between legitimately using social networks and ensuring protection while using them.

With that in mind, take a look at these dos and don’ts regarding social media.


  • Use strong passwords that include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Stay away from familiar words people can easily associate with you, like a pet’s name.
  • Change your passwords routinely.
  • Regularly check your privacy settings to make sure your account and information is as secure as you think it is, particularly because some social networks change privacy options frequently.
  • Be aware of current social networking threats. One example is Twitter users you follow asking, “This you?” with shortened URL links to fake login pages. By clicking on such links and entering your login, you run the risk of giving your username and password to someone with bad intentions.
  • Take advantage of URL unshortening services (such as DeTiny, UnTiny, or Unhid) that check where shortened URLs go.
  • Visit your account without logging in to make sure private information isn’t being unintentionally shared.
  • Be super-selective about the personal information you post. Surveys have found almost 40 percent of users post items like email addresses, home addresses and phone numbers on their profiles.
  • Be careful posting information indicating your location. This is especially important given the popularity of location-based social networks. If you’re from Oklahoma and posting about lying on a beach, for example, it’s easy to figure out you’re not home.
  • Report suspicious or malicious activity to the social networking site’s administrators.


  • Click on links from people you don’t know.
  • Accept “friend” or “follow” requests from anyone you don’t know.
  • Answer “Yes” when prompted to save your password to a computer. Instead, rely on a strong password committed to memory or stored somewhere safe.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. To learn more, please visit here.*

Links marked with * go to a third-party site not operated or endorsed by Arvest Bank, an FDIC-insured institution.

Tags: Consumer Protection, Technology
Jo Ann Sterling on 10/8/2013 at 10:51 PM
Thank you for this helpful information. We need to keep informed as new threats evolve.
Sheila on 10/10/2013 at 3:05 PM
Very good information! Thank you!

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