Social media may seem like harmless fun that people engage in to pass the time. However, what you share on social media can be highly telling and reveal a window into your personal life that many don’t think twice to consider. While sharing who you’re with, what you’re doing, and where you’re going may seem innocent, the truth is you never know who might read this personal information with wrongful intentions.
While sharing your joys and frustrations with friends and family is fun, you should think twice before doing so on social media. Private investigators at the National Investigative Training Academy, Inc., (NITA) advise keeping the following rules of what not to share when posting on social media.
Don’t Post That There’s Nobody Home
As tempting as it may be to share your excitement for an upcoming vacation or getaway, you should think twice. It can be helpful to get recommendations for friends but don’t share when you’ll be gone, when you get back your flight or hotel status, or any other clues as to when you’re far from home. Always err on the side of caution before revealing anything that will alert others when your home will be empty and open to intruders.
Don’t Post You’ve Just Made an Expensive Purchase
A decade or so ago, you wanted to avoid leaving packages or deliveries on your front porch, which might indicate bystanders that you’ve just purchased a fancy new TV or entertainment system. Today, the equivalent is posting on social media to share with your friends that you’ve just bought a pricey gadget or where it’s kept in your home.
Don’t Post Implicating Photos
This is a lesson many have learned the hard way: do not post incriminating photos for the world to see on social media. Even with privacy settings, tech-savvy users may be able to get around them. Posting implicating photos may include drinking shots at a bar, dancing in a club, or merely appearing intoxicated in a picture. Doing so can get you in hot water with your work, relationship, or reputation, but can also do the same to any friends tagged in the photo with you.
Don’t Post the Status of Your Relationship
Relationships can be complicated enough without adding social media to the mix. A quick selfie when out with your office fling or new love interest can quickly become problematic should there be divorce or custody battle in the background that you’re unaware of. In many divorce settlements, evidence gathered from oblivious but telling tweets, posts, and photos can be a turning point in the outcome of a divorce settlement.
Don’t Share Your Feelings on Your Boss or Colleagues
Bad-mouther or slandering another person’s name on social media is one of the biggest social media faux pas you can commit. When you’re posting about the people or company associated with your paycheck, venting your frustrations online for the world to see is a big mistake. Should the wrong person notice, you might soon find yourself looking for a new job. It will be challenging to secure a new job if you’re unable to provide a useful reference.
Don’t Post That You’re Taking a Sick Leave
Lying to your employer about being ill so you can have a day off is precarious enough. If you’re spending that sick day at the park, beach, or bar with friends, you can quickly be found out should a photo or random comment be seen on social media. If you’re supposedly sick to the point where you need to call out of work, it will look suspicious to post online when you should be resting and recovering. Avoid social media altogether when taking sick leave, even for a personal day, to be sure you still have a secure job to return to once you’re “healthier.”
Never Post That You’ve Committed a Crime
This should go without saying, but you should never post information that will implicate you in committing a crime. In a recent Government Technology article, Coal Valley Police Chief Jack Chick said:
“Some people will post things on social media that incriminate them…some even brag about their participation in a crime. We’ve solved burglaries. We’ve solved thefts. We’ve located people.”
Even a joke about speeding on the highway, not paying for parking, or stealing a small item out of a shop may be flagged and alert authorities. A post that might seem insignificant can be highly telling and detrimental to a person’s future.
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You can register at any time for investigative training courses with NITA online. Once enrolled, you can complete your course at your own pace, day or night, with 24/7 access to your course materials. To get started on your investigative careers, call 866-235-7918 or fill out our online contact form today!