3 steps to protect against social media stalkers

Special Reports

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — From smiling snapshots to sultry selfies, sharing your adventures, your purchases, even your children, leaves a trail of clues that can put you in danger says Tennessee Bureau of Investigation Assistant Special Agent in charge, Nicholas Christian.

“We call that a pattern of life. So, we can determine a person’s pattern of life just based on their photos.”

And stalkers do the same, says Christian, who explains the crime is often committed by someone you know or have had interaction with.

This brings us to tip #1: Don’t make it easy to hack your accounts.

That may seem simple, but do you know how best to do that?

“If you want to crack someone’s password, the easiest way is to guess the security answers,” Christian says.

Your mother’s maiden name. Your favorite sports team. Your pet’s name. People who know you usually, know the answers. And if they don’t, “Typically all your security question answers are probably on your Facebook somewhere,” Christian warns.

Instead, use unique answers that are tough to crack. Because stalkers who gain access to your accounts can easily pinpoint your exact location.

Which leads to tip #2: Don’t disclose your location.

“The biggest thing with location data is making sure that you’re not geotagging photos. All your phones have a geotag setting that you can turn off or on.”

If you use apps that require location information like Life 360 or Find my iPhone, then make sure you know when they’re enabled. Hacking those apps allows a creep to track your every move.

Before posting a picture ask yourself, “Does anything in the background, or emblems on clothes, give away where I live, work, or where my children go to school?”

“We call it intelligence. It’s intelligence we can use against you or to gain your trust,” says Christian.

If someone makes unwanted contact on social media here’s tip #3: Don’t delete without downloading.

“You want to document everything that’s happened. And when I say document, I don’t just necessarily mean screenshots,” explains Christian, “Facebook and other apps have this thing called Download Your Information. It will pull down your entire Facebook into a zip file. It has all your chat logs and all your photos and all the potential creepers will be in there.”

After downloading the proof, Christian says report the user then block them. And if necessary, call the police.

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