Spokane Police Officer On Leave For Harassment: How To Protect Y - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Spokane Police Officer On Leave For Harassment: How To Protect Yourself Online

SPOKANE, Wash. - Spokane Police Officer Jeff Graves is on administrative leave after claims of harassment and stalking surfaced from a woman he initially met on Facebook.

The woman says Graves used the GPS function on Facebook to find out where she lived, then began showing up at her home. So how safe is your information line?

With every status update or photo you share online, you could be sharing a whole lot more than you realize.

"We need to understand when we're using social media it is not a private diary," said Erin Williams, the program director of the Sexual Assault and Victim's Advocacy Program at Lutheran Community Services. "It is a billboard, and everyone can see what we do."

Sites like Facebook and Twitter use a feature called ‘geo-tagging' – so when you post an update it automatically posts the city you're in.  But if you also ‘check-in' on Facebook, you'll be shocked at how specific your location is.

"There's almost always this element, when the criminal is known to the victim, of following and tracking on the Internet," Williams added, who works with thousands of crime victims every year.

Remember, whatever you post online is public, and you may never know who's clicking in and reading it.

"If you feel like you're in danger, if you feel threatened or frightened, then you should consider shutting down your social networking - at least for a short time -- until you feel like you're in a safe place," Williams added.

To better protect yourself:

-Look at your privacy settings online and limit what you share

-Disable geo-tagging in your apps and social media networks

-Say ‘no' when a new app asks to use your location

-Use a fake name for your social media accounts

-Change your password often

-Search your own name online to see what information about you is already available

Check out this link for more tips, especially for stalking victims:

http://www.apc.org/en/system/files/CyberstalkingFactSheet.pdf

 

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