Key safety tips for using social media


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Key safety tips for using social media

A gentleman stays in touch with loved ones via social media on his laptop and tablet.

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Next, we look at some key safety tips to bear in mind when using or setting up social media accounts.

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Keeping your information private

Be cautious about what you say or post online. Social media is very open, and your messages could be seen by strangers or scammers.

Be particularly careful about sharing any private or personal information online. Even if you know the person really well, you can't control who sees their posts or messages, and your private information could fall into the wrong hands.

A graphic reminding us not to share our personal information on social media, even with people we know really well.
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eSafety Tip

Scammers look for people's personal information on social media sites (e.g. date of birth or address), to help them create dummy online accounts, or even open fake bank accounts with these stolen details.

The rule of thumb is to never share anything online that you wouldn't want complete strangers to know about you.

Broadcasting you're away from home

Travelling around Australia or overseas is something that should be celebrated and shared with your friends and family. But posting photos of your travels in real time lets others know that you're not at home, and that your house is probably vacant.

The safest option is to post your travel photos once you've returned from your trip, or to only share photos directly with close friends and family and not in a public forum.

Sharing holiday photos is exciting on social media, but remember that strangers might also notice that you are away from home.
Scammers create fake profiles on social media sites to trick people into trusting them.

Beware of scams

The internet, and social media in particular, is rife with scams of all kinds. Common scams include those that appeal to people's emotions, for example romance scams.

A typical social media scam

Sadly, one of the most common scams on social media is the Romance scam (sometimes known as catfishing). This scam is often aimed at people who are single or bereaved.

Typically, a scammer sets up a fake profile on social media and befriends vulnerable people. The scammer spends time building trust by offering fake companionship, and then pretends to have an emergency, thereby pressuring their new 'friend' into sending them money.

Whilst most social media interactions may be innocent, always be wary of people who befriend you online and offer to start up close friendships – they may not be all they seem.

Scammers like to create fake social media accounts to con people out of money or information.
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eSafety Tip

The aim of many scams, including catfishing, is to get you to give money to the person behind the scam.

No matter how convincing the sob story, never, under any circumstances, transfer money or share your financial details with someone you have met online.

Report scams and abuse

If you feel that someone is trying to scam you or that you have been scammed, you should report it immediately to the social media platform and to any institution that is affected (e.g. your bank).

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has a useful website called Scamwatch. You can find out more on what to do if you think you are being scammed by visiting

Likewise, if you're a victim of bullying, harassment or intimidation online, report it to the social media platform and, where necessary, to the police.

Social media platforms often have a 'Report post' button where you can report upsetting posts or suspected scams.
Privacy settings on social media are very important and should be reviewed as soon as you sign up for an account.

Control your privacy settings

All social media platforms give you control over your privacy settings, but the default settings on new accounts often display many private facts about you, such as your birthday and the town or city in which you live.

Before posting your first message on social media, be sure to visit your account's Settings menu, and update your privacy settings to protect your identity, control who sees your posts and what personal information is displayed.


Well done, you've completed the Key safety tips for using social media activity.

You should now be aware of some key safety tips for using social media. There are other safety aspects related to the use of social media and these will be covered in other courses.

Coming up next, if you have registered and are logged into the Be Connected website, you'll now be able to take a short quiz to finish the course. If you're not registered, you are now at the end of the course.

A family catches up with loved ones on social media using their laptop computer.