Using Social Media While Avoiding the Pitfalls

Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565



There is something that sometimes gives me concern. It often happens while I'm visiting Facebook pages of some of my young family members.  It is astonishing how relaxed they can sometimes be, with the amount of information they are willing to dish out and post, while using social media.

Granted, we are given the option of choosing our friends on Facebook.
  And we have some control over which entities have access to our more personal aspects in cyber space.

However, things can change among friends, and we don't always know well some of those folks we accept as "friends.”


Awhile back I was startled when I found one of my grandkid's full birthdate, and place of birth on his profile page.  I immediately emailed, to warn him of potential dangers lurking.

Here are some things you should consider if you are using social media including Facebook, Twitter, etc.,


(1) It's probably ok, to provide the month and day you were born.  However, providing the year you were born gives identity thieves a piece of key information for stealing your financial life.  Couple that with the knowledge of your place of birth, and sometimes identity thieves can predict some of the numbers in your Social Security number, if not most or all.

(2) Be wary of providing your home address.  Several months ago, Ponemon Institute conducted a study, which found that Social Media users were at risk of identity theft because of information they were providing on their social sites.  Others were actually putting themselves at physical risk.  The study found that most contacts that had been accepted as "friends" were actually just acquaintances or people they knew - some only slightly.


(3) If you want to talk or brag about your vacation or trips, wait until you return home.  Telling the world that you're going to be gone for 2 weeks cruising the Bahamas, or wherever, is telling thieves, "Come rob me."


(4) Passwords are another area that needs serious consideration.  If you use the same password for just about every on-line activity you perform, you are at risk.  If you are using your mother's maiden name, or other predictable criteria, you're making it easy for crooks to guess your passwords. 


(5) And, suggesting that passwords have 8 characters including a capital, doesn't mean you should choose, "sneezy - sleepy - dopey - doc - happy - bashful - grumpy - and sacramento" either.  Only we blondes are allowed to do that:-)


(6) One of the more important things to consider is what you decide to put out in cyberland, has the potential of being looked at by future or current employers, school admissions people, and other entities that may not think it is funny, that you love to party down and get drunk every weekend, or recreationally smoke the "funny stuff." 


If you use a few good sense precautions, you ought to remain reasonably safe, while exploiting the wonderful possibilities available through social networking.  The key is to remain cautious and to use care.



Re-Blogged 4 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joni Bailey 04/13/2012 04:35 AM
  2. Cheryl Ritchie 04/13/2012 10:54 PM
  3. Maria Morton 04/14/2012 02:15 AM
  4. Terrie Leighton 04/14/2012 07:29 AM
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Fred Carver Personal Real Estate Corporation
RE/MAX Camosun Victoria BC Real Estate - Victoria, BC
Accredited Real Estate Consultant

Hi Myrl...Sharp eye, Good for you to let you Grandson know about potential dangers in Facebook and other Social Media...Congratulations on a great feature.

Apr 14, 2012 03:01 AM #24
Gayle Causey
formerly with Keller Williams Realty Parishwide Partners - Monroe, LA

Such good tips! We all need a reminder now & then!

Apr 14, 2012 03:17 AM #25
Bryan Robertson
Intero Real Estate - Los Altos, CA
Broker, Author, Speaker

I provide significantly less information online than I used to.  Most of my personal life is left completely offline.  Most of my posts are business related.

Apr 14, 2012 05:37 AM #26
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I caught my youngest son putting too much info out there on his profile -- cell phone, our address, etc. Needless to say that is now gone!

Apr 14, 2012 06:03 AM #27
Tammy Emineth
Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing - Marysville, WA
Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer

Great reminders Mryl, and so many people totally ignore #3 until it's too late. I frequently change my password to Facebook to avoid any hackers but you just never know... Facebook is attached to EVERYTHING these days and one "like" over there can end up where you don't want it.

Apr 14, 2012 06:10 AM #28
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

I bookedmarked your post!  These are great reminders and I am going to place your post on my facebook page.


Apr 14, 2012 07:14 AM #29
Terrie Leighton
Ferrari-Lund Real Estate - Reno, NV
Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno

Hi Myrl ~ these are wonderful tips to share with everyone who is using social media. Using a few good sense precautions is crucial to remaining safe while on-line. Sadly, many many folks do not know what good sense means!!

Apr 14, 2012 07:25 AM #30
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

An excellent post.  If one follows these guidesline, then they should be relative safe when using social media!

Apr 14, 2012 07:34 AM #31
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Myrl- we need to paste this near all of our computers!  I've warned my friends about putting the year they were born for the very reason you mentioned.  It's so unfortunate that we now live in a world where we have to take these precautions. 

Apr 14, 2012 07:49 AM #32
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

I have not gotten into anything much more than AR and linkedin. 

I can hardly keep up with this.

Apr 14, 2012 11:51 AM #33
Shirley Parks
Sands Realty 210-414-0966 - San Antonio, TX
Broker, 210-414-0966, San Antonio TX Real Estate

Hi Myrl,  I'm amazed at the things some people put on Facebook.  I recently was looking at the page of someone who is promoting himself as a luxury home agent and trying to create a certain image.  Then I clicked on his personal page and his girlfriend's personal page and saw the "real" person.  Was not impressed.

Apr 14, 2012 12:39 PM #34
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Such good information, especially for kids.  They don't realize all the information they provide to just anyone.  I keep telling my daughter to watch what she posts. 

Apr 14, 2012 12:40 PM #35
Ed Silva
RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Myrl, I'm not as social as many here on AR when it comes to those special sites, Guess I'm not doing to badly after all

Apr 14, 2012 12:46 PM #36
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Myrl, It's something I always keep in mind when traveling.  No Facebook status updates about being somewhere other than home until I'm back to my own front porch :)

Apr 14, 2012 01:49 PM #37
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Myrl, I am amazed at how indiscrete people are on Facebook.  Not just the kids, either! 

Apr 14, 2012 01:59 PM #38
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Great Tips! I would add to regularly check your privacy settings. Facebook has a nasty habit of changing those without your knowledge.

Apr 14, 2012 02:30 PM #39
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Myrl - We have a brave, new world available to all of us these days, and we need to navigate carefully.

Apr 14, 2012 02:37 PM #40
Jennie Miller, PLLC
Buy/Sell/Rent Your Home in Phoenix Metro Area - Phoenix, AZ
AZ Broker - Real Estate Services 480-382-9681

The information available on the internet is amazing.  There are many things that should be kept confidential and many people disclose too much information!

Apr 14, 2012 03:17 PM #41
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Very good advice for those that use social media.  Many are very careless with the information they provide to the world.

Apr 15, 2012 01:59 AM #42
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

All - I am a little behind in responding to all of your wonderful comments, but I want you to know I have read each and every one of them, and I am appreciative of your thoughts. 

I worry most about kids, who use social media, without proper precaution.  They can easilyl enjoy the social media experience, if a few steps are taken using safety.

Apr 15, 2012 04:28 AM #43
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Myrl Jeffcoat

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