Social Media Maven with the Travel Bug? Share Your Photos Safely

13 November 2015

With the holidays fast approaching, many Canadians are putting the final touches on plans to travel home or to see loved ones for the upcoming festivities. After all, spending time with family or seeing old friends is one of the best parts of this time of year. Others may be planning to fly south for a bit of sun and sand to brighten up what is sure to be another long winter. Whether to see friends, family or palm trees, traveling can be one of the most exciting events of the year.

Unfortunately, sharing that excitement on social media can put you at an increased risk of identity theft. While uploading a photo tagged from a tropical location of yourself on a beach or posting a snapshot of your train ticket home can be fun ways to tell your friends what you’re up to, you could also be alerting potential criminals of potential places to strike.

We know that it's tempting to record and broadcast all of the exciting places you visit while on holiday, but the safest way to share photos of your travels is to wait until you have returned home to upload them. The best policy is to let people know you’re sharing them from home and aren’t still on the move—try adding a line in your post such as, “we had fun last weekend” or “can’t wait to go back.”

But if your trip is so amazing you can't resist the need to share the play-by-play, here are some tips that can help you share more securely:

  • Turn off geolocation: While tagging a photo with the name of the town your parents live in or the island where you are vacationing can add a personal touch to your post, it also lets anyone who sees it in on the fact that you’re not home, increasing the likelihood that someone could break in to your home while you’re away and steal your personal information. Even if you don’t actively add your location to a photo or post, some social media sites capture this information anyway, especially when posted from a smartphone with location services enabled. This can turn otherwise innocuous posts into fodder for identity thieves. To be safe, turn off geolocation access for your social media apps when you’re traveling.
  • Keep your tickets to yourself: To celebrate booking a holiday trip, some people post a picture of their plane, train or cruise ticket or confirmation email. In addition to including the dates you will depart or return, tickets or confirmation messages often include personal information, such as your full name or address, which determined identity thieves could use to complete their profile of you.
  • Set privacy settings: If you haven’t already, make sure to adjust your profiles to only share information with friends or followers you have approved. This way you know who will be seeing your information. If you have followers you do not know, however, you may want to consider only sharing your photos with a more explicitly selected group.

The holidays are a time of celebration and indulgence and it can be hard to remember to keep safe and take precautions. That's why signing up for a credit monitoring service like Identity Guard can be such a help. While you enjoy your time with family and friends or post about your awesome trip, Identity Guard Canada can monitor your credit files for certain activity that could indicate fraud and notify you. With us watching your back, you can be free to travel and share with a little less to worry about this holiday season.