Why you shouldn’t comment on nostalgic question posts
If you spend any time on social media – especially Facebook –you’ve probably seen a picture like this:
And most likely, hundreds or thousands of people have commented on it. “Of course I remember! Here it is!” Nostalgia is a strong motivator.
Seems harmless, right? But it isn’t.
Sharing personal information online – even if it doesn’t seem important or relevant anymore – can make you vulnerable to fraudsters.
Just imagine you’re a scam artist trying to access a stranger’s bank account online, but all you have is their name. No problem – you can look through their Facebook page. In many cases, a little time and research can reveal lots of information – such as your email, the names for childhood pets, relatives, schools attended, best friends, even the dates for important events like getting married or having kids. This is all information you might have used for security questions on your online banking profile.
You might be thinking, “I know better than to share all of that online.” If you are, that’s great! But are all your friends as careful? Have they tagged you in pictures saying you’re their best friend? Do they list their hometown and high school on their profile? Does your mother have her maiden name on display?
If all of this information is available, it wouldn’t take very long for a fraudster to know a whole lot about you and use that information to try and access your hard-earned money.
Commenting on pictures like the one above makes it easy for scammers to fill in the blanks on what they know about you. Cst. Sebastien Lee with the Kennebecasis Regional Police Force weighed in for us.
“Some people think the popular trends on Facebook are just for fun – for example, sharing the street you lived on growing up, your date of birth, or your phone number,” he says. “But if you post personal information online, it’s really easy for a stranger to track you down and get more information about you. With a phone number or maiden name, we can find somebody online really easily.”
Sebastien also had a great example for how quickly personal information can spread online.
“One year ago, I posted a picture of myself on the KRPF Facebook page. I was asking people to share my picture. In less than 24 hours, over 6,400 people shared my picture and over 200,000 people saw my picture on Facebook. A year after, we got over 10,500 shares and over 350,000 people saw my picture. It was shared all over the world.”
He continued: “The Internet is a great tool, but people need to understand that once you share something, you actually lose control of it the moment you click POST.”
Our advice? Put on your detective hat and look at your online profile through the eyes of a fraudster. You just might find a weak spot that can easily be fixed. You can also review your privacy settings to see if there are ways to tighten the security on your social media account.
While you’re at it, be sure to check out our cybersecurity tips and sign up for our fraud alerts.