Protect your personal information and reputation online
Diana Dietz, e-PRO
Sep 27, 2011
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Andrew Wooten

With all of the new changes occurring with technology and social media, it is now more important than ever to ensure you protect not only your personal information but your business reputation as well, according to nationally recognized safety and technology expert Andrew Wooten.

Wooten, president of Safety Awareness Firearms Education (S.A.F.E.) and an NAR safety instructor, recently conducted a webinar on social media safety as a part of NAR’s Realtor® Safety Series for the month of September. The series also offered informative information on cyber crimes as well.

“Always think before you share information on social media and reevaluate what you are saying,” he said. “We need to learn to take charge of information and learn how to protect our name and business reputation.”

Wooten suggests searching for yourself on the internet through sites such as Google. He recommends Googling yourself at least once a month and constantly reassessing who has access to your pages and what images show up.

“When it comes to your online presence, you have to create what you want people to see,” he said. “Publish positive information about yourself through blogs and monthly articles. If you find negative information about yourself on a website, ask the person politely to remove it or contact the website administrator to remove it.”

According to Wooten, Realtors® need to make some major changes in the way they use social media and protect themselves in this ever-changing technology-driven world.

He offers simple tips on how to protect yourself when using social media:

Consider setting up professional and personal profiles. It’s ok to have a professional social media page. Make sure to use different e-mail addresses for each and make sure to only add necessary personal information to your professional profile.

Do you know all your “friends” and “followers”? Look at who you accept as a friend. Do not accept friend requests from people you don’t know.

NEVER post on social media where you are or when you are going out of town. Do not use social media that requires you to “check-in” at locations. Do not post when you are going on vacation. This lets people know you’re not at home.

Set and check your security/privacy settings. Frequently change and use a strong password. Make sure your page is only viewable by friends. Set your login notifications to let you know if someone is trying to gain access to your account from an unrecognized computer.

Avoid being a victim of cyber crime. Only open links from trusted websites. Review short urls before clicking and check the spelling of the link. Never allow social networking sites access to your email accounts. Never put your home address, phone number or e-mail address on your profile.

Disable geotagging on your smart phone. Information transmitted through your phone is not private. Photos, texts and video posted to social media from your smart phone are automatically tagged with your location. This can expose your work and home address. This information can also establish your patterns and habits allowing strangers to track you.

Andrew Wooten has been in the safety and security industry for over 24 years. A crime prevention speaker, author and consultant, Wooten can be reached at