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There are a few things that you can do to help ensure you remain as safe as possible when online and in particular when using social media.

Understanding your digital footprint allows you to control what information is shared and who that information is accessible to.

If you think there is something missing from the sections below, please get in touch.


Think about whether you really need to put your phone number on social media profiles for others to find. Most smartphone apps will automatically pull that information down from your ‘friends’ lists.

The more contact information you share, the easier it is for scammers to target you for internet fraud.

Think about what benefit adding that 'friend' to your social media network offers you. If you don't actually know them, how do you know they are real?


When posting on social media, consider turning off location services so it's harder for criminals to find out where you live.

Think about whether you need to post your home town online for strangers to see.

Can your location information be used against you when you post online stating you are going on holiday?

Webcams and video chat

Consider covering your webcam when it is not in use. Should anyone attempt to remotely access your webcam, they won't see anything you don't want them to.

If you feel you have been a victim of webcam blackmail then you can find advice here


Ensure your privacy settings are set in such a way that you minimise the amount of information available to people outside of your friendship circle.

Getting your settings right

On your tablet or PC, visit the ‘user settings’ area of the social media platform you use and follow the process to revisit and where appropriate change those areas that concern you, such as: ‘Your privacy - who can see your posts?’, ‘Are the photos I post accessible to everyone to see or just my friends?’ and ‘Who can send me requests?’

Password management

Consider changing your password and recovery settings to better protect your account.

Other things that you could do

Consider amending any other social media applications that you use.

Gloucestershire Constabulary's Safer Cyber Twitter feed


Page last updated: 31 October 2017