Campus News

How to Stay Safe on Social Media Around the Holidays

Person holding a cell phone

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 12, 2019) — Holiday parties, family trips and thoughtful gifts are going to be filling all of our social media feeds in the upcoming weeks. However, you might want to think twice before you post.

Kakie Urch, an associate professor in the School of Journalism and Media in the College of Communication and Information, has eight easy tips to protect yourself — and others — online this holiday season.

  • Don’t post large gift items – We all have new phones or 4K TVs on our wish lists this year. The best advice Urch had was to NOT post photos of those big-ticket gifts. Posting photos of these items makes them “available” to everyone who sees them on your social media and makes your home a target.
  • Wait to post – If you don’t post it, did it even happen? If you are going out of town, Urch urges you to wait until you are safely home to post photos or status updates. If you post them while you are away, people are aware your home is unprotected. The same concept goes for tagging locations in your posts.
  • Be aware of charity scams – It’s the season of giving and everyone wants to help others. However, beware of appeals from scam donation centers. Do your research and make sure wherever you give is a valid source. 
  • Double and triple check – When entering your credit card information anywhere, check to make sure both the Wi-Fi and the website are secure. Urch also suggests giving the gift of an identity theft protection plan.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – Sometimes the door to electronic crimes is opened with a physical crime. If someone steals your wallet, they can easily steal your online presence.
  • Be cautious with Facebook marketplace – Everyone is looking to find a great deal — and Facebook marketplace has a lot of them. If you do decide to go this route to purchase your gifts, make sure you don’t go alone and are clear on the item you are getting.
  • Online Russian roulette – When purchasing items online beware of counterfeit products. Urch says if a deal looks too good to be true, it most likely is.
  • Be kind – The holidays are already a stressful time for everyone — just be kind. Urch urges everyone to be considerate when posting on social media.

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