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Protect Your Privacy Online: Avoid Posting These Five Things | BU Today

In today’s digital age, it is important to be mindful of the information we share online. From travel plans to personal information, from our location to confidential information, and from photos and videos we share, it is essential to be aware of the potential risks associated with sharing too much information on social media and other online platforms. Here is a list of five things to avoid posting online to help protect your digital identity.


1. Travel Plans

Think twice before you post travel plans or share an upcoming trip. You’re not just sharing the information on where you are going; you’re sharing that you won’t be home during this time, leaving you vulnerable to those who may have malicious intent. Instead, post your trip pics once you are home safe and sound!

2. Personal information

Information such as your passport information, driver’s license number, personal mobile numbers, credit card numbers, or social security numbers are a few examples of data that can be used to access online accounts when in the wrong hands. While most of us would be unlikely to post our social security number on social media, many people share personal information that may be used to guess your passwords or answer security questions, such as your city of birth or your mother’s name.

3. Your location

Your mobile device has a powerful “Location Services” service that knows everywhere you take it. If your smartphone’s location services are turned on, your device records every location you visit. Location Services are necessary for your favorite GPS app and helpful for summoning a ride share or finding the nearest coffee shop. But allowing these applications to know where you are 24x7x365 – not so much. Ensure your location privacy by reviewing the list of applications with access to Location Services and disallow it unless the app needs to know where you are. For some applications, “allow while using” is a valuable setting to find that coffee shop without the app constantly tracking your location.

4. Confidential information

This includes information about yourself and your family, friends, or co-workers. Remember, “Say it forget it, write it regret it!” Once posted online, you can never completely delete this information. Don’t post intimate, situational details about yourself or about others. These details can be used by scammers in spear-phishing attempts, posing as someone who “knows” you or your friends and using these details to create false trust.

5. Photos and videos that share more than you intended

Think before you post, and don’t post pictures at the moment. Wait until you have given them a good look! Take some time to look closely at what you’ve recorded, ideally on a bigger screen than a phone, or at least by zooming in and looking at everything visible. You’ll be surprised at what you catch (for example, student names on worksheets, classroom passwords on Post-its, and profile information on a computer monitor).


In short, avoid posting anything you don’t want to go public. Remember, even if you think you have privacy settings enabled or a private profile, pictures or text posted online may be copied, altered, and shared without your knowledge or consent. Keep your privacy intact by being discreet with what content you post online. Stop and think: Would I want everyone to see or know this?

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