7 Photos You Should Never, Ever Post on Social Media
It’s important to watch what you post. Screen for safety first by avoiding these posting pitfalls.
Bragging about your upcoming trip online might seem harmless, but snapping a photo of your boarding pass is a definite don’t. Sure, your followers already know your name—and they might even know your destination—but according to Brian Krebs, author and founder of Krebsonsecurity.com, which specializes in investigative stories on cyber crime and computer security, other personal data is at risk. Your frequent flyer card and passenger name record (PNR) could be jeopardized with a social post.
With a little finagling, hackers can access your earned miles, phone number, date of birth, and even passport data. Based on your booking number, criminals can also find out when you leave and return. Knowing that no one is home could entice burglars to break in while you’re away.
Posting photos of paycheques, credit cards and wads of cash is just asking for trouble. Aside from being in poor taste, doing so increases the chances of you getting mugged. Also steer clear of photos (or captions) that give away financial information, such as the name of your bank.
Winning lotto ticket
If you’re lucky enough to snag a winning lottery ticket, be smart enough not to brag. (Related: Here’s what lottery winners won’t tell you.) Sharing betting slips isn’t a huge liability for small amounts, but, if they want to put in the effort, criminals can replicate the scannable bar code and steal your winnings.
Confidential work emails
It’s a good rule of thumb to keep work off of your social media, especially when it comes to confidential documents. If your company sent an exciting email about a new development or branding idea, the last thing you want to do is let the competition know. Airing complaints—or posting photos of “venting” conversations between you and co-workers—isn’t smart either. In fact, it’s a sure way to get sacked.
Posting identifying information on social media is equivalent to losing it—or giving it away. While snapshot of the birth certificate of your new bouncing baby might seem like a heart-warming announcement about a major life change, it can put your little one at risk for identity theft. According to the Identity Theft Resource Center, allowing this government document to fall into the hands of a stranger could do permanent damage. A birth certificate is considered the “bedrock identifying document” and can get you a new social insurance number, passport, health card and driver’s license. Once someone has control of it, proactively preventing fraud is near impossible.
Work that isn’t copyrighted
You might be proud of your writing, but posting a snap of the poem or short story you’ve written before publishing isn’t the best idea—especially if you’re looking to submit to a journal or enter a competition. Someone stealing your award-winning line might lead to a case of he-said, she-said when comes to who originally created the work. Even if you writing only has sentimental value—and isn’t exactly Pulitzer worthy—posting it online makes it easy for people to copy, paste and claim. Keep your wise words to yourself until they’ve been copy written, and then have your fans buy the book instead.
Children (who aren’t yours)
Posting photos of children’s smiling faces on social media might seem innocent enough, but it’s best to think twice before submitting photos of minors on social. Be especially careful of adding identifiers such as a child’s name, age and the school they attend. According to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, consent for a minor may be obtained from a legal guardian. But keep in mind that there are proposed amendments to Canada’s online privacy laws—make sure you are aware of changing laws regarding data protection and minors.
Originally published as 7 Photos You Should Never, Ever Post on Social Media on ReadersDigest.com.