Protect yourself on social media

Many of us use social media every day without giving a second thought to our privacy or our vulnerability to cyber-crime. The following tips aim to keep you safe online.

  • Avoid publishing any identifying information about yourself that could be used by scammers - e.g. phone numbers, your address or birthday.
  • Make it difficult for potential hackers by using strong passwords with symbols and numbers.
  • Review and edit your privacy features on social media sites to ensure that only your friends can access your profile.
  • Consider the permanence of online content - don't post anything that may later embarrass you or someone else. (You never know who might be looking at your page - e.g. a prospective employer.)
  • Never post comments that are abusive or may cause offence.
  • Be on your guard against phishing scams, including fake friend requests and posts from individuals or companies inviting you to visit other pages or sites. If you do get caught up in a scam, make sure you remove any corresponding likes and app permissions from your account.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall.

Unpleasant comments about people on social media sites aren't dealt with by the police, unless there is a criminal offence involved. Offences may include threats to kill, threats to cause damage, criminal conduct amounting to harassment and comments that incite racial hatred, violence or rioting. If you have been affected by any of these offences, please call Humberside Police on 101 to report it.

Regarding unpleasant or inappropriate posts, you should first contact the social media site on which the comments have been made and ask for assistance. If you think you have been libelled to an extent that you wish to take action, please consult with a solicitor in the first instance.

Our guide to using social media responsibly provides further detailed advice.