For many, the current situation has brought us lessons to learn. Quarantine, crisis, and collapse: all of these events bring consequences that impact like a ton of bricks. With the lack of decent jobs available (something that in Venezuela has been hard to find since somewhere around 2012) it has been normal to see an increase in crime. A young, uneducated population, will look for the means to provide for themselves in any manner they choose, including finding victims on social media. Add drug and alcohol addiction and things can go to hell in a hand-basket very quickly.
Editor’s Note: Every time we post about social media, we get a barrage of comments about how you, personally, don’t use it. I realize not everyone uses social media, but billions of people do. Some people must maintain profiles for work or business purposes. If this information isn’t applicable to you, personally, it might be helpful for someone you love, or this just might not be an article for you. – Daisy
A recent experience has made me realize my paranoia is justified.
Even though I know better, I can be unwary sometimes, but not without good cause. If we are not careful with what we share on social media it becomes inevitable that we will expose our entire lives to predators. There are criminals watching for our personal information. What these criminals find on social media can lead to very dangerous situations. I can not give you the details, but using my own experience, I can offer suggestions that you may find useful in certain situations.
Related: Interview With Prepper: ‘We Were Held Without Charges’ For Survivalist Facebook Posts
In current times it is best not to brag. These days I believe it is the ghost-like man and his family who survive and thrive. While it may seem celebrities are living a superb life, we do not know what is truly going on. Leave the red carpet for the Kardashians. Personally, I’d prefer living on top of a mountain, filtering rainwater to drink, and watching my family asleep around the fire in our humble cottage. Free, happy, and healthy, knowing that I am not a slave to the system and neither is my family.
My advice? Be discreet.
Use social media only as a place to hang out and casually joke. Sharing sensitive info is never advised. My main motivation is to provide my readers with reliable information: real boots on the ground information. Sometimes, I get distracted and post comments that I should not. My recent experience has taught me there ARE people out there, some who are psychologically compromised, that believe things to be true that are not. Social media profiles may contain personal information which is surely being monitored by one or more of these lowlifes. Trust me: my intention is not to scare anyone. On the contrary, it is to make my readers aware of this. No matter if you are a senior lady without a dime or a wealthy, educated retired college teacher: someone is out there looking for this personal information. I limit my comments and mainly use Facebook due to my association with the Organic Prepper.
Some people I know, who are close to me, have had quite traumatic experiences with social media. They are not wealthy, they live in a decent place, drive not-so-old cars. Although with the levels Venezuela has been at for the last 20 years, I guess some lowlife could consider them wealthy enough. These people I know live in a frontier city; this means criminals usually know that after committing a crime there, once they cross the border, they will be relatively safe.
Social media for work only is best.
It is very important to know that all the information we post online is available to everyone, everywhere. Going completely offline is possible, but in a modern economy, is it really practical? How do we sell our products, if we are homesteaders, without belonging to a group or some online community? Sure, we could use the old-style phone calls, telemarketing style but it is highly time-consuming and maybe impractical compared to other methods, to achieve our goals.
Using social media ( Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) exclusively for our work is the best approach. Our personal lives do not need to be known by others. Especially those who may be looking for a way to take advantage of someone they have chosen as prey. Don´t post about your armory or your panic room, your pantry full of food, nor your score in the range on social media. These criminals will know you´re not a piece of cake, and take it on as a challenge. The last thing you want is to face a bad guy who knows you may be armed.
Related: Is Social Media Destroying Humanity on Purpose?
By the way, these guys are usually NOT the stereotypical lonely psycho you see in the movies. They often attack in packs: two, three, or even four against one person they have found worthy. One or two of them will come in close, the others will be nearby, just in case things get ugly. Even if you neutralize two of them, the remaining others will hunt you down, just because they can. They can´t afford to allow a civilian to face them and win. Many of them are linked to the “uniforms”, who provide them guns, ammo, and even transport and protection. Although, the “uniforms” sometimes are the perpetrators.
Ask yourself the following questions.
What important information might you be giving away on social media?
- What would a predator checking your profile be looking for?
- What would look interesting to potential thieves?
- Is any of the following information on your profile?
- Number of persons living at home?
- Guard dog?
- Gun proficiency?
- Other defense means?
- Fancy cars? Furniture? Jewelry? Expensive phones/electronics?
- Do you travel a lot?
- Do you work so often that your house is mostly empty?
- Do you know personally all of those in your profile?
- Do you suspect any “friend” profiles are fake?
Do you really want your information online…forever? (once online, it stays online) None of this should be in any of your social media profiles.
Related: Here’s How Easy It Is for Predators to Get Personal Information That Could Put YOU at Risk
Predators know that kids are a good source of information.
Kids talk. Especially to friendly adults. Predators know kids will feel “grown-up” if an adult speaks to them. Sadly, these criminals are only gathering information for an attack. When my older son was around 14 or 15, someone began asking him questions. My son quickly realized this thug had bad intentions and gave him fake information. But, do not underestimate these predators. They are smart, and most of them know when they are being lied to.
If you are able, download and save a photo of anyone who asks you for information that is suspicious.
In Venezuela, the upper-class neighborhoods and the poor neighborhoods are only separated by a few hundred meters. I am not saying that people living in poor neighborhoods are criminals, but the criminals are likely to live in those poor neighborhoods. So, if you are driving a shiny new car, every day, by the poor barrio, you will likely end up being targeted. If you are also sharing your personal information and your schedules and routines on social media, some of those criminals will be watching you.
This article does not go into how the social media companies themselves are using your information. That’s also a risk to your personal security and privacy.
Do you have any other tips for keeping your social media profile secure?
I hope this information has been useful in optimizing your OPSEC (operational security). We just never know who has been browsing social media for hours, gathering information needed to put together a portfolio of potential victims. One of those victims could be you.
Thanks for your comments, and your support to keep me writing!
To me, the best approach to social media is described by the saying from the movie War Games – the only way to win is not to play
A business acquaintance made an offhand comment on Facebook about the recent turmoil in our city and found herself the target of online fury.
She’s not the least bit racist but was branded as such and had to delete her social media profile and close her business.
The mob has since moved on, but she’s nervous because she lives in a part of town where mob violence has occurred.
Also she’s not sure if she will have to completely rebrand – or if that would even work.
I go to great lengths not to expose my identity publicly online.
With social media you aren’t just the product, you’re the target
I agree about not playing the game. The less tie you have to the system, the less control they have over you. What are people willing to give up for their freedoms and privacy?
This is my only social media for the most part. I don’t do twitter, facebook, instagram or any other social medial. TV’s have been known to have camera’s to watch you in your home. I don’t have one either. Not to mention the mindless brainwash media it has playing. My emails do not go out to a “group of people” either. I also don’t have a debit card (by choice) nor any credit cards (by choice). I also choose not to live in a subdivision with a homeowners association.
Almost 2 years ago, after spending 5 months out of a 6 month period incarcerated in the FascistBook Stalag for violating Political Correctness, and receiving a threat from FascistBook Reichsminister for Propaganda Zuckerberg to permanently prohibit my account, I left of my own accord. In retrospect, I wish I’d never joined. Social Media is not a forum that allows the free exchange of ideas, opinions or positions. The amount of misinformation and propaganda is astronomical.
So talking about your preps, even on Messenger, has someone looking over every word you type. Steer clear of it if you can. Only the people in your circle, are who you should converse with when it comes to prepping and stockpiling.
I don’t use (anti)social media. Never have. Never will.
Remember; the root word of twitter is twit.
I watched on a social media platform the other day a reality show celebrity talking about being prepared. Because of their status and persona, you would think that they had authority on the subject. If they were your neighbor, you’d know it. This is what I gathered just from watching and listening to their video: they have a LARGE supply of food (they even said that they have a lot of money in food), they don’t have guns, and their home has numerous musical instruments laying around. They made the video almost like a PSA , and came off as patronizing and disdainful toward the prepper community.
I use all social, facebook, gab, and other sites to promote voluntary individual living through sharing items like this one about opsec. I also have real life friends that I connect with on facebook.
some folks do better living by themselves. they may feel that they do not need social media.
some folks do better living near or with other folks. and some of those may want social media in their lives.
different strokes for different folks
social media works for me for now.
Facebook- no profile
Instagram- no account
twitter- no account
My only social media are very specific forums like this one and I do Not post any personal info.
I realized the dark side of (anti) social media very early in the origins and foresaw the potential problems and opted not to get involved
Also watch what you puschase on credit or with a bank card, especially online.
I have a points card and if I use credit card I get points and everything I buy. The free stuff is great but the tailored offers and and pushing to buy the more expensive item or spend more for points is real and serious if you are not careful. If you want privacy pay cash.
It is not just the big tech companies.
There is a guy who advocates using social media to gather intelligence on you and your neighbors. Determine what kind of person you are, if you are a prepper, your political POV, if you have firearms and more.
I don’t have any social media accounts. I don’t play in their sandboxes. I know billions do, that’s the problem.
Maybe I just drove Daisy crazy by posting this comment. lol.
Like the title says: OPSEC.
It can be a great asset or failure.
OPSEC in any realm (physical or digital) is difficult when one is not used to doing it. But, as with most things, practice improves your odds.
Suggestion(s): Use encryption for anything on email. Consider using online mail.services for the things you really don’t want personal info to get out. Such as: Guerrialla Mail, Dispostable, etc.
Use software that anonymizes you while browsing:
[Tor (The Oonion Router Network)].
Learn “Social Engineering” techniques, to better understand what you are up against.
If you must use social media, consider doing it anonymously and fictitiously (via Tor).
I have been thinking on this very subject lately given the very real situation that any perceived issue could become a career ending one. I have The Book of Face only for family and some group activities, but have started to very much slow down what I post there. I have upgraded my protections with VPN and am experimenting with different, more secure browsers (I do not use the two most popular browsers but am trying to continue to pull away from anything that is a data collection – especially, somewhat sadly for me anymore, anything US based).
The InterWeb can be a powerful tool for information and connection and some communication. But anymore, really not much more than that.