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10 Social Media Safety Tips

September 16 2014

socialmediasafety point2In honor of REALTOR® Safety Month, your team at Point2 has compiled a list of 10 helpful tips to keep you and your personal information safe while networking on social media.

1. Minimize the personal info that you share, especially if it pertains to your password or security questions. You know not to post your social security number online, but other security details are often overlooked. Your birthday, mother's maiden name, and high school mascot are all common security questions—and all details that can likely be found on Facebook. Minimize your personal info online. When you can, create your own security questions.

2. You know those privacy settings? Customize them! Many platforms allow you to categorize your friends and followers into groups and then customize exactly who sees what. Take advantage of those features.

3. Skip the "import contacts" option. Many social media and email sites offer to import your contacts from another platform. Some sites will spam your contacts (ahem, clients) with unwanted offers, promotions, and even fraudulent links. Read the site's privacy and sharing policies first and proceed with caution.

4. Schedule automatic updates for your security software. It may be annoying to get a status bar pop-up as your update loads, but that's nothing compared to falling prey to a scam or attack because of outdated security software.

5. Complex passwords are worth it. Each social media account should have a unique password with a fun mix of characters (capitals, symbols, numbers). Keep in mind that apps like Hootsuite and Buffer make all of your accounts vulnerable under one username and password.

6. Consider identity protection. Since you have such a strong online presence–you're basically famous–you're an easy target for identity thieves. LifelockLifelock and other programs can help you control your identity by keeping an eye on lines of credit and other valuable information.

7. Be suspicious of your friends. All because a link in your chat box looks like it is coming from a friend or coworkers doesn't mean that it is. Their account could have been hacked. If something seems suspicious, contact that person directly (via an alternate method) before proceeding.

8. Google them back. Clients look you up all the time. Fortunately, the search engines works both ways. It may be worthwhile to do a quick search of your new client. Learning a bit about the client may help you with your sales approach, and you may also notice a few red flags (e.g. if the client's Facebook profile seems like it was auto-filled by a robot, you could be walking into a scam or dangerous situation).

9. Card 'em like you mean it. You'll often get leads from your social media, which is great but leaves you quite vulnerable. Consider having all of your preliminary meetings in your office rather than alone at a property. Have clients fill out the REALTOR® "Prospect Identification Form"REALTOR® and scan their IDs. Do so consistently to practice fairness and keep a steady record of your interactions. It's a small inconvenience that can do a lot for your safety.

10. Protect your family, too! It's innocent enough: you attend a community event with family, take a few pictures and post them to your professional site—do not tag your children and be sure that they do not tag themselves. Unfortunately, that simple connection opens a doorway to communication between strangers and your family.

Share these tips with your peers and be sure to let us know other tips that have helped you stay safe on social media.

To view the original article, visit the Point2 Agent blogPoint2 Agent blog.