There are many ways that you or a small business could get caught up in a social media disaster. Can you think of any off the top of your head? If you are like most of us, probably not. Here are 14 ways that you could be in danger:
- A Terrible Online Reputation – Do you keep a watchful eye on you or your business’ Facebook page? Are people posting to it? Are your staff? Even things that seem good-natured at first can be taken the wrong way by friends or potential customers.
- Racy Images or Text – If you or your employees are sharing racy text or images on social media, it could negatively affect your life or business. Though you definitely can’t control what they are posting, you can certainly educate them on the smart use of social media. Typically, these things happen because someone is ignorant about it, not feeling malicious. Even something as innocent as sharing a scantily clad photo of themselves while at work or play could give you or your company a bad name.
- Imposters – You might be surprised, but there could be someone out there posing as you or your business. So, make sure to patrol the internet to see if anyone is using your company’s logo or name. This even includes phony websites. Set up a Google Alert to notify you if your name or your business name appears online.
- Financial Identity Theft – It might seem harmless to post a photo of your employee’s puppy on your company website, but it could lead to financial identity theft. How? Well, if you post the photo, you surely would post the name of the cute little guy, and many people use their pet’s names as their passwords or answers to security questions. With that name, now identity thieves could have one more piece of the pie that they will use to hack into a financial account. Post pics of puppies all day long, just don’t use their names.
- Photo Geo Tracking – When you post photos, make sure that the GPS technology is off. This way, criminals can’t use it to find you or your employees addresses. Yes, GPS technology can save lives, but it can also ruin them.
- Robberies at Home – Make sure to educate your family or staff about the dangers associated with posting business or vacation travel information on social media. Burglars often use social media as a way to find a good house to break into. If they know Bob in accounting is out of the office and on vacation, they also know that he is likely not home, making his house a target.
- Corporate Snoops – It’s also possible that a spy could set up a page on Facebook, post as an employee of a well-known company or other branch, and then attract your real employees to a fake group. This way, he knows that they could give him sensitive information about your business, as they see him as trustworthy.
- Sex Offenders – Know who you are talking to online. Also, make sure to tell your staff to be careful when communicating with someone new. This person could be a sex offender, or worse.
- Attack of the Badmouth – At some point or another, you will get a disgruntled employee. Perhaps this person believes that they were unjustly terminated, or maybe they still even work for you. Employees who believe they have been “picked on” might try to get revenge by posting a bad review or blog about your company.
- Bullies – You might also find that one of your friends or employees is a bully. Are they posting bullying comments on your social media sites? If so, it could be bad for business.
- Government Spies – Even if it seems outlandish, many reports say that there are certainly law enforcement agents of the U.S. government that use social media to learn more about criminal suspects.
- Fake Sites – Someone could set up a fake site and pretend that they are from your business. When customers go to that site, they unknowingly give information about themselves, such as account numbers, email addresses, and phone numbers. Now, the bad guys have access to this information.
- Account Takeovers – You might remember when the show 60 Minutes, the Associated Press and others had their Twitter account hacked. The AP tweet that got out, claimed that then President Obama had been attacked at the White House. The stock market dropped significantly causing billions in losses as a result. If it can happen to the AP, it can certainly happen to you.
- Liability – Though you can use Facebook’s privacy settings to hide posts, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be used in some type of legal case. And studies show that Facebook is being used as evidence in 1 out of 5 divorce cases.
What is the takeaway here? It’s that there is no such thing as a fully private Facebook page just because you might have all of the privacy tools in use. A person with bad intentions, or your own ill conceived posts or a skilled hacker can still get in and ruin your good earned reputation.
Robert Siciliano personal security and identity theft expert and speaker is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen. See him knock’em dead in this identity theft prevention video.